Can I still get pregnant after a Leep procedure?

>> Thursday, February 24, 2011

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Dear KnowYourV, ,

My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant and now with my abnormal pap results my doctor wants to do a ‘LEEP procedure’ to remove the abnormal tissue from my cervix. Will this interfere with my ability to get pregnant?”

I hear this from so many woman because, with the ‘LEEP procedure’, a very small portion of the cervix is actually removed. Therefore, many women worry that this will weaken their cervix and cause them to miscarry their pregnancies.

The Loop Electrode Electro-cautery Procedure (LEEP) is done in the doctor’s office. It replaced the cervical cone biopsy which was performed in the OR (Operating Room) under anesthesia. The LEEP procedure removes a small, flat, nickel-sized portion of tissue. By contrast, the Cone Biopsy was developed for cervical cancer diagnosis and evaluation, so a very large, deep biopsy was taken, and often it did extend so deep that the risk was higher.

Once the tissue is removed with the LEEP procedure, it is sent to pathology to be examined by the pathologist. It is important to determine if there are any cancerous cells present and also if the margins (or edges) of the specimen are clear of any abnormality. That way, healthy new tissue can replace the diseased or infected tissue, so the next pap results should be normal.

The other popular method for cervical tissue removal is ‘cryotherapy’, where the cervix is frozen, causing the abnormal tissue to be destroyed. Again, healthy tissue will generally take its place. This is done in only mildly abnormal cases, because all the tissue is destroyed in the freezing method, leaving no specimen for the pathologist.

So, in answer to your question about pregnancy, the ‘LEEP procedure’ is not going to interfere with your body’s ability to become pregnant or maintain the pregnancy. I have had many women have successful pregnancies over and over after having this procedure done.

I hope you all stay safe, and enjoy life and work wherever you may be this week. Write to us if you have anything on your mind that we can help you with.
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