Background: Large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ) is regarded as the treatment of choice in cases of Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN). Since the method is easy to learn and the equipment is inexpensive, many gynecologists now perform it in the clinic. Concern has been raised regarding the use of this procedure with insufficient indication by physicians who have not been adequately trained in performing LLETZ. Aim: This article aims to verify whether the indications for LLETZ in Israel are similar to those accepted in the updated literature and to discuss the need for licensure to perform LLETZ. Licensure would limit the use of LLETZ only to professionals specifically trained to conduct this procedure. Method: A questionnaire was sent to gynecologists, heads of obstetrics and gynecology departments as well as managers of public and private hospitals, regarding LLETZ performed in 2001. Topics covered in the questionnaire included: the number of LLETZ procedures performed, the patient's age, pre- and post-operative histopathological diagnosis, complications, follow-up and recurrence rate. The physicians were asked to complete separate questionnaires for each of the clinics in which he or she worked. Results: The completed questionnaires comprised of 625 LLETZ procedures in eight public and three private colposcopy clinics. The ages of the women ranged from 18 to 70 years old, with 49% in the 18 to 34 age range. Most women (416) who underwent the LLETZ procedure had CIN grades 2 or 3. However, 128 women with CIN 1 were also treated. Among this group, 50% were confirmed CIN 1 according to the surgical specimen but 43 women had normal epithelium, 20 (15.6%) had high grade CIN (2-3) and one had invasive cancer. The most common post-operative short and long-term complication was heavy bleeding. Involvement of the surgical specimen borders was found in one fifth of the cases. Conclusions: The finding that about half of the women who underwent LLETZ were below the age of 35 years is of particular significance since the health insurance agencies in Israel only cover a pap smear screening test for women between the ages 35-54, once every three years. Therefore, there is an indication to start screening from the age 18. Similar to other countries in the world, the main indication to perform LLETZ in Israel is CIN 2-3. However, performing LLETZ for CIN 1 in many cases, and administering general anesthesia in certain centers, calls for the introduction of licensure for performing LLETZ. Involvement of the margins of the specimen in the neoplastic process in one fifth of the patients was similar to that reported in the literature. The various centers in Israel have different approaches as to the required surveillance period for women following LLETZ. It is suggested that women with involvement of the surgical specimen margins by CIN should be under medical surveillance at colposcopy clinics for a period of at least eight years.
|State||Published - May 2004|
- Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia
- Large loop excision of the transformaton zone
- Pap smear screening