A popular type of surgery for removing abnormal cells from the cervix — a problem that could lead to cervical cancer if left untreated — may put women at risk of pregnancy complications.
According to the British researchers, women who had this procedure, known as loop electrosurgical excision procedure, or LEEP, were at greater risk of delivering preterm babies or having a low-birth-weight infant.
LEEP is one of several surgical techniques for removing abnormal or precancerous cells from the cervix.
After numbing the cervix with local anesthesia, an electrically charged wire loop is inserted through the vagina. The loop, acting as a scalpel, cuts away a thin layer of tissue, removing the abnormal cells.
The study authors concluded in a paper published recently in the medical journal The Lancet that doctors should use caution in treating young women with mild cervical abnormalities or precancerous cells.
“Women should seek detailed information on efficacy but also on long-term pregnancy-related morbidity before they consent,” lead study author Dr. Maria Kyrgiou of Central Lancashire Teaching Hospitals in Preston, Great Britain, told HealthDay.
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