It’s best to schedule LEEP for a time when you are not menstruating, so that your cervix can be clearly seen. Before the procedure, you will be asked to sign a consent form and you may be given medication to prevent cramping. The procedure itself usually takes only a few minutes.

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A Close-up View

Just as with a Pap test, you’ll place your feet in stirrups and your healthcare provider will insert a speculum (a small, tubelike instrument) into your vagina. Your cervix is numbed with a local anesthetic, which also helps reduce bleeding. Then a mild vinegar or iodine solution is applied to your cervix to highlight any dysplasia. To get a close-up view of the surface of your cervix, your healthcare provider looks through a colposcope (a magnifying instrument) placed outside your vagina.

LEEP uses a fine wire loop with a special electric current that allows your healthcare provider to precisely remove the area of abnormal tissue from your cervix. There is very little damage to surrounding tissue due to the fact that the LEEP wire is so thin. After the tissue is removed, blood vessels are sealed which decreases bleeding and allows the cervix to heal within a few weeks. The tissue sample is then sent to a laboratory for evaluation and diagnosis. You are notified of the results by your healthcare provider’s office generally within 1-2 weeks.