Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center has a complete
explanation of the LEEP on the web. The Greater Carolinas Women's
Center has a picture
of the instrument used to perform a LEEP. Please also check our
Web Resources section for more Internet
sites with information on this procedure.
Susan C., California, USA: I had a LEEP last summer (followed
by surgery, chemotherapy and radiation for cervical cancer, stage 1b1).
The purpose of the LEEP was to get a large, deep cervical biopsy in
order to stage cancer discovered through colposcopy. LEEP is an acronym
for Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure. The gynecologist uses a
wire loop attached to an electric machine. The loop is pulled around
the cervix, burning and extracting a large, deep piece of tissue. It's
kind of like peeling an apple and taking a lot of the white part along
with the red skin.
I had my LEEP done in the doctor's office with only local anesthesia,
but I know that some people have this done under general anesthesia
as an outpatient surgery. I hardly felt a thing through the procedure.
The anesthesia used was lidocaine, which was injected into the cervix.
The injection didn't hurt at all. The lidocaine made me feel like I
was shaking, but I wasn't.
The doctor placed a grounding pad across my thigh in order to prevent
me from getting an electric shock. (The pad was also attached to the
LEEP machine.) The doctor took three large chunks with the LEEP. It
took about ten minutes for the doctor to take the samples, and about
fifteen more minutes for the bleeding to be adequately cauterized. Still,
I bled for about four weeks following the LEEP. Also, I was told not
to have sex for six weeks.
Karen L., Ontario, Canada: I was diagnosed with moderate dysplasia
in 1996. You know, back then I was 22 and didn't think much of it at
all, really. To me, it was abnormal cells, no big deal. Well, every
three months, I visited the specialist for a check-up. Again, no big
It wasn't getting any better, so in 2000 I had a LEEP done. I went
to the same clinic and the entire procedure was over in 45 minutes.
I don't really remember the details of the procedure, but I guess that's
a good thing. ;~) Meaning, it couldn't have been too uncomfortable.
I was told not to have baths or sexual intercourse for two months following
I had three follow-up visits with the specialist, and now, am considered
cured. No abnormal cells have returned. Now I can venture back to my
family doctor for my annual pap tests.