There are several treatment options for those with severe dyskaryosis but the most common is LLETZ but it’s also referred to as loop diathermy, LEEP, loop excision or loop biopsy. Although this sounds scary patients typically only feel slight discomfort during the procedure.
What does the treatment involve?
LLETZ is a straightforward out-patient procedure, typically only taking 5-10 minutes. After numbing the cervix with local anaesthetic, a thin heated wire loop with a mild electric current (known as a diathermy) is used to remove the abnormal cells while also aiming to preserve as much of the healthy cervix as possible. This will leave a raw area on the cervix though this heals itself quickly.
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 may be 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 of 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.
Patients can go home right away and can immediately resume normal activities after the procedure has taken place.
Nevertheless, we always advise women 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 asked 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).
Are There Risks Associated With LLETZ?
The potential risks associated with a LLETZ procedure are very low but there are some side effects that you should be aware of. These include:
- 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