Colposcopy and LEEP Procedures
A colposcopy and loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) are two fairly common gynecological procedures that may be recommended after an abnormal Pap smear. The first is a diagnostic procedure, while the second is a method of removing abnormal cells from the cervix.
A colposcopy is a diagnostic tool that allows your OB-GYN provider to look more closely at the cervix through a special magnifying device called a colposcope. It is placed into the vaginal canal, much like the speculum used for a pelvic exam or Pap smear.
The colposcope shines a light into the cervix and the magnified view allows greater visibility. Your doctor will look for abnormalities and other issues that cannot be seen by the naked eye alone. If abnormal tissue is identified, a small biopsy may be taken during the procedure.
In addition to abnormal cervical cells, a colposcopy may also be used to identify or evaluate other gynecological problems, such as inflammation, polyps, as well as to evaluate possible causes of pain or bleeding with sexual intercourse.
The procedure is most effective when performed when a woman is NOT on her period. For at least 24 hours prior to the test, a patient should not:
- Use tampons
- Use vaginal medications
- Have sex
Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)
The loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) is used to remove abnormal tissue from the cervix. It may be done to treat precancerous conditions identified in a Pap smear or other diagnostic tests. It may also be used to confirm a diagnosis of cervical cancer.
The procedure is simple yet effective. A thin wire loop acts as a scalpel during a LEEP. An electrical current is passed through this loop, which heats and removes a very thin layer of surface cells in a target area of the cervix.
After the removal of abnormal cells during a LEEP, new, healthy cells will develop and replace the tissue that was removed. After a LEEP treatment, close monitoring with more frequent Pap smears may be necessary to ensure there is no recurrence of abnormal cervical tissue.
Women’s HealthFirst: Experts at Colposcopy and LEEP
Have you had an abnormal Pap smear? Have you been told you require a colposcopy or LEEP procedure? Contact the OB-GYN specialists at Women’s HealthFirst by calling (847) 808-8884. You can also request an appointment now. Find the Women’s HealthFirst location nearest you – we have five clinics in northwest suburban Chicago.
If you’re an existing patient of ours, please contact your Women’s HealthFirst provider directly or use our convenient online patient portal to message your care team for more information.