How long does it take to recover from a LEEP procedure?

It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to recover from a LEEP procedure.
It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to recover from a LEEP procedure.

LEEP is a procedure to remove cancerous tissue from the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus located at the top of the vagina. The cervix takes about 4 to 6 weeks to recover from a LEEP procedure. During the healing process, the individual should not insert anything in the vagina, such as tampons or douches. Refrain from sexual intercourse for at least 4 weeks after the procedure.

Contact the health care professional if you have any of the problems

What is a LEEP procedure?

Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) is a procedure that uses a wire loop heated by an electric current to get rid of abnormal tissue or cells in the vagina or cervix. If Pap tests and colposcopy biopsies confirm the presence of abnormal cells, the physician may recommend LEEP to get rid of the abnormal tissue.

Abnormal tissue may be the areas of cervical dysplasia, which is a condition characterized by an abnormal growth on the surface of the cervix. Cervical dysplasia, if left untreated, can worsen and lead to cancer.

Why might I need a LEEP?

If Pap tests and colposcopy biopsies confirm the presence of abnormal cells, the physician may recommend LEEP to get rid of the abnormal tissue. LEEP is also useful in detecting cervical or vaginal cancer.

LEEP is also recommended in

How do I prepare for a LEEP procedure?

Before the procedure, you should take care of the following things

  • Don’t take aspirin or any medications that have aspirin in it.
  • Inform the physician about allergy to any medicines, latex, tape, iodine or anesthesia.
  • Inform the physician about all the medicines that you take.
  • Do not use tampons, vaginal creams, douching or have sexual intercourse before the procedure.
  • Inform the physician about any history of bleeding disorders.
  • This procedure is usually done when you are not on a menstrual period.
  • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant.

What happens during the LEEP procedure?

During a LEEP procedure

  • You may be asked to take a urine pregnancy test before the procedure.
  • The physician may ask you to lie on your back and position your legs as you do during a regular pelvic examination.
  • The physician inserts a lubricated tool (speculum) into the vagina to spread the walls of the vagina apart to expose the cervix.
  • To magnify the tissues, the physician will use an instrument known as a colposcope, which is placed at the opening of your vagina.
  • With the help of a colposcope, the physician identifies the areas of abnormality in the cervix or the vagina.
  • To highlight the abnormal tissues, the physician cleanses and soaks the cervix with a dilute acetic acid solution. This solution highlights the abnormal tissue by turning it white.
  • The physician then numbs the cervix with local anesthesia, after which an electrically charged loop made of thin wire is inserted through the speculum up to the cervix. It removes any abnormal cells.
  • Hemostasis (cessation of blood loss) is achieved.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the procedure you may observe

  • A watery, pinkish discharge
  • Mild cramping
  • A brownish-black discharge

You should also limit strenuous activities or heavy lifting after the surgery. Take painkillers for relieving cramps or soreness. During the healing process, the individual should not insert anything in the vagina, such as tampons or douches. Refrain from sexual intercourse for at least 4 weeks after the procedure.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/30/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference

Johns Hopkins Medicine


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


Cleveland Clinic


ACOG