Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)

LEEP Diagram

When a woman has an abnormal pap smear, we identify pre-cancerous lesions on the cervix that, if left untreated, may proceed to cervical cancer. In the past, women often had to undergo surgery and general anesthesia to have these abnormal areas removed. Now we are able to remove these areas in the office with a quick, and relatively painless procedure known as a LEEP.

The loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop to cut out the abnormal tissue on the cervix. LEEP can cut away abnormal cervical tissue that can be seen during colposcopy and remove abnormal tissue high in the cervical canal that cannot be seen during colposcopy. In this situation, LEEP may be done instead of a cone biopsy.

The procedure takes about 20-30 minutes in the office and is performed using only local anesthesia. Recovery is only a few days.


Complications are usually mild but can include:

  • Mild pain or discomfort as well as uterine cramping
  • Slight discharge

Call your physician if you experience bleeding that is heavier than a normal period, or if pain is severe. Other symptoms that should be reported to your physician include any heavy vaginal discharge or strong vaginal odor.


For approximately 2 weeks after the LEEP, DO NOT:

  • Have sexual intercourse for as long as recommended by your physician
  • Lift heavy objects
  • Use tampons
  • Douche
  • Take tub baths—take only showers to prevent infection

For more information, please contact your physician.