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Leep

Alternate Names

  • large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ)
  • loop excision of the transformation zone (LETZ)

Definition

Loop electrosurgical excision procedure, abbreviated as LEEP, is the removal of a piece of the cervix, which is the opening of the uterus into the vagina..This is done by passing electricity through a thin loop of wire, which cuts and seals the tissue being removed.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

This procedure is done on women whose Pap smears show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. These changes may, if not treated, lead to cancer. LEEP is not done on women who have cancer that has already invaded the cervix.

How is the procedure performed?

LEEP takes only a few minutes. Usually, it is done in the office of a healthcare professional. First, the cervix is injected with a local anesthetic and medication that makes the blood vessels in that area contract to avoid blood loss.
The wire loop is then passed across the cervix. It removes the area between the outer and inner portion of the cervix, which is called the transformation zone. Most cervical problems develop in this area. The wire loop cuts and seals the tissue it passes through. The size of the piece removed depends on the size of the wire loop used. The tissue sample is then sent to the lab to be examined under the microscope.

Sources

"Gynecologic Cancer Surgery" Paul Morrow and John Curtin, 1996, 1st edition.

"Comprehensive Gynecology" William Droegemuller, Third Edition.

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology Committee Opinion No195, Nov.1997.

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