Laser treatment (sometimes called laser ablation) is used to destroy abnormal cervical cells to allow normal cells to grow back in their place. It is performed in a hospital outpatient clinic, usually in one session, using a local anaesthetic. A biopsy (sample) is needed before laser treatment is used. Under local anaesthetic, a laser beam is pointed onto the abnormal areas of the cervix and the cells are destroyed. During the treatment there may be a slight burning smell from the laser.
Before the introduction of the LLETZ treatment in the early 1990s, laser treatment was the preferred method to remove abnormal cells from the cervix. After confirming the presence of CIN with a small punch biopsy, a laser beam (high-energy light) was used to vaporise the abnormal area, or the laser beam was used to cut a cone of tissue out similar to the LLETZ procedure. Tissue healing after laser treatment was very good.
However, laser treatment has largely been replaced by LLETZ. Gynaecologists favour LLETZ over small laser treatment because it is safer to send a big sample for pathological analysis after a LLETZ procedure to ensure that a small, invasive cancer has not been missed. The equipment for LLETZ is also much cheaper to buy, use and easier to maintain than laser generators. One woman we spoke with had laser treatment in the past.
Jane had laser treatment in 1983 and couldnt remember much about the procedure. She bled heavily…
More experiences of laser treatment can be found on our Cervical screening site.