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The loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop to remove genital warts by heating the margin of the area to be removed, which separates the wart from the skin.
LEEP is done in a doctor's office, clinic, or hospital on an outpatient basis. A local anesthetic is injected to numb the area.
For women, abnormal cervical cell changes caused by HPV will be treated differently than genital warts caused by HPV. Your doctor may recommend certain types of surgery, such as LEEP. To learn more about surgical methods to treat abnormal cell changes, see the topic Abnormal Pap Test.
Recovery time depends on the location and number of warts removed. Most people will be able to return to normal activities within 1 to 3 days after LEEP.
For men and women who have had LEEP, call your doctor if you have any of the following:
Avoid sexual intercourse until the treated area heals and the soreness is gone (usually 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the size of the area treated).
LEEP may be used to treat large, external warts and warts on the cervix.
Bleeding is the most common side effect. But typically LEEP causes less blood loss than laser treatment.
Scarring of the penis is a possible side effect that can result in problems with urination or erection.
Infection does not occur often and can be treated with antibiotics.
LEEP works best with large, external warts or warts on the cervix.
Treating genital warts may not cure a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The virus may remain in the body in an inactive state after warts are removed. A person treated for genital warts may still be able to spread the infection. Latex condoms may help reduce the risk of HPV infection.
The benefits and effectiveness of each type of treatment need to be compared with the side effects and cost. Discuss this with your doctor.
Other Works Consulted
Bonnez W (2015). Papillomaviruses. In JE Bennett et al., eds., Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 8th ed., vol. 1, pp. 1794-1806. Philadelphia: Saunders.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah A. Marshall, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineKevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofNovember 27, 2017
Current as of:
November 27, 2017
Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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