Medical Q&As

LLETZ - explain?

As a result of CIN 3 cells being found on the neck of my womb, I've just had LLETZ treatment. Because the first I heard of this treatment was moments before I was about to get it, I'm still not completely sure how the cells were removed, why they were sent to a lab, why I need another smear test in 6 months, etc. I'd like to add that this was explained to me in great detail just before I was about to have it done, but I was tense and nervous at the time and didn't take it all in. (I've recommended your site to the doctor in question). Now that I'm in a more relaxed state I wonder if you could fill in the blanks.

Your question illustrates the point that medical messages need to be repeated because people often fail to take in the full detail of the message when first given. LLETZ is an acronym for “large loop excision of the transformation zone”. The transformation zone is located at the opening of the cervix and refers to the junction between the cells lining the inner rim of the cervix and those cells that are lining the surface of the cervix. These are the cells that we sample when performing a smear test. The large loop can be considered to be a hot knife that neatly removes the transformation zone all around the entrance to the cervix. The strip of tissue is then sent to the laboratory where it is microscopically examined. The state of the cells in the sample can then be compared with the sample obtained during the previous smear test. Follow up smear tests are performed at regular intervals thereafter in order to establish that the cells in the cervix remain normal.