The most common form of treatment for a high grade dyskaryosis diagnosis is LLETZ, which means Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone. Also referred to as loop diathermy, LEEP, loop excision or loop biopsy; the method is generally carried out as an outpatient procedure, under local anaesthesia with the aim of removing all the abnormal cells from the cervix.
What Does LLETZ Involve?
A LLETZ procedure is quick, usually taking only 5-10 minutes and is carried out while the woman is awake. After numbing the cervix with local anaesthetic, a heated thin wire loop with a small electric current (known as a diathermy) is used to remove the abnormal cells. This will leave a raw area on the cervix, though this heals quickly by itself. Only healthy tissues will remain on the cervix, without any abnormal cells present.
On occasion, the treatment to remove abnormal cervical cells can be carried out immediately after the colposcopy examination. Our consultants would carry out the LLETZ procedure if it is extremely clear that some of the cells in the cervix are abnormal and require imminent removal. In other instances, it will not be possible to carry out the procedure on the same day. This is typically because we need to wait for biopsy results in order to determine whether abnormal cells need to be removed or not. Our consultants will give you an idea on what the next steps are during your consultation. They will ensure that you are well informed during the whole process so there will be no unexpected surprises.
Post LLETZ Treatment Procedure
Patients can go home right away and are able to resume normal activities immediately after the procedure has taken place.
However, you should be advised to avoid the following activities:
- Wearing tampons for around four weeks after the LLETZ procedure. It is recommended that you use sanitary towels instead
- Having sex for four weeks, as this increases the risk of infection
- Exercising, including swimming, for at least two weeks, or while bleeding or discharge are still present
Six months after your LLETZ procedure, you will be advised to undergo another cervical screening. This will be carried out to check that there are no abnormal cells or the presence of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
The Risks and Side Effects
The risks associated with a LLETZ procedure are very low, however, there are some side effects that you should be aware of:
- Mild pain, which can be similar to period pain and typically passes within a few hours of treatment
- Bleeding from the cervix, which may require further surgery
- Infection which may require treatment through antibiotics
- Increased risk of premature birth in any future pregnancy, though this is highly uncommon