LEEP  or Loop Electrocautery Excision Procedure

LEEP is a surgical procedure that removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix. It is frequently performed in the office, although in some cases it is done in the operating room. LEEP is most commonly done to treat an abnormal PAP smear. If performed in the office, a local anesthetic is given in the cervix. Because the cervix has many less nerves than does the skin, the anesthetic causes little or no discomfort when given. 
An electrical current is run through a small wire loop to complete the procedure. The wire loop both cuts and cauterizes (prevents bleeding). The small piece of tissue is then sent to the lab for processing and evaluation. Occasionally, a small amount of abnormal tissue may remain, and it will be necessary to repeat the procedure to remove this tissue. After the LEEP you may experience a small amount of bleeding and mild to moderate cramping.

Other Types of Cervical Conization

A conizaton of the cervix may be performed using techniques other than the LEEP.

  • Cold-knife cone or conization is usually performed under general anesthesia using a knife rather than an electrocautery loop. It frequently requires the use of suture to control bleeding. The cold-knife conization has been largely replaced with the LEEP. Your physician will explain his/her choice of procedure.
  • Laser conization is similar to the LEEP and cold-knife conization except the procedure is done using a laser.

Complications from the procedure are unusual. If you experience bleeding more than a light menstrual period after the LEEP, you should contact your physician.

The information provided by Advanced Healthcare for Women and E. Daniel Biggerstaff, III, M.D. is for informational purposes only. As each woman is unique, do not rely on this information for diagnosis and treatment. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the content and advise that you see a qualified Health Care Professional for individual needs and care.