Why is a LEEP Needed?

After a Pap smear and colposcopy, if abnormal changes in the cervix are found, your doctor may then choose to perform a LEEP on you in order to test and treat abnormal cell growth on the surface tissue of the cervix. This is a fairly short and straightforward procedure that takes about 15 minutes and may be performed either in-office or in an operating room, depending on the patient’s comfort. 

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What to Expect During a LEEP

It’s important that nothing enters your vagina for one week before a LEEP. This includes intercourse and tampons. Before the procedure begins, you will be placed on a medical table with your heels supported by stirrups, just like during a Pap smear. A coated speculum will be inserted into the vaginal opening and slightly opened so that the cervix can be seen at the bottom. To help the abnormal cells become more visible, a solution will be applied to the cervix. A colposcope will be used to help magnify the area for the doctor’s guidance.

The cervix will be numbed with local anesthesia, and a small, thin wire loop that is connected to an electrical current will be inserted through the speculum and up to the cervix. This wire loop excises a thin layer of tissue to remove the abnormal cells, which will be sent to a lab for testing. The procedure takes about 20 minutes.

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It’s very common for women who have a LEEP to experience vaginal spotting or draining for 1-3 weeks following the procedure. There may also be different types of discharge, so pads can be very helpful during recovery. 

Nothing should be inserted into the vagina for one month following a LEEP, and you should avoid strenuous activity for 48 hours. Exercise should also be avoided for 1-2 weeks. 

While vaginal bleeding and mild cramping after a LEEP are normal, it’s important that you contact us if you begin having heavy bleeding, bleeding with clots, foul-smelling discharge, fever over 100.4 degrees, or intense abdominal pain.

In addition, though uncommon, patients can have cervical scarring that can result in cervical incompetence during pregnancy. This can be usually treated with a cervical cerclage. An ultrasound around 15 weeks is recommended to assess the cervical length with future pregnancies for this reason. Occasionally, cervical scarring can result in cervical stenosis, which means closure of the cervical canal. The cervical canal can be dilated to correct this and if needed, sperm can be inserted directly into the uterus to conceive. Again, these problems are uncommon and solutions are available.

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Cold Knife Conization

Alternatives to LEEP include cold knife conization. This procedure is always performed under anesthesia in the operating room.

Tissue is excised with a specially-designed scalpel, allowing the tissue to be removed in one piece. This is reserved for more significant cervical dysplasia, as more scarring can occur with it and typically more tissue is excised.

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“Dr. Jukes and staff were very straightforward, professional, and timely. I was given as much time with Dr. Jukes as I needed to ask all my questions and feel comfortable with my treatment choice. She was honest about her opinion and outcomes. I felt extremely prepared and educated. I would highly recommend Dr. Jukes!” 

Elisabeth R.

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Why Choose Modern Women’s Health?

The mission of Modern Women’s Health is to provide comprehensive health, wellness, and aesthetic services for women — all under one roof. Patients of any age, from adolescence to menopause, can have their gynecological, wellness, and cosmetic needs met with our 360-degree approach to care. Founder Dr. Lisa Jukes is a board-certified gynecologist who stays on the cutting edge of advancements within the industry, leading an always-evolving practice. We have female providers for female needs at our sophisticated, modern clinic, and as a female-led practice, we provide a compassionate, confidential, and comfortable atmosphere.

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