To determine whether large-loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ) can be used in our population to treat patients in a routine colposcopy clinic without diminishing the capability to see the large number of patients who require care, and to compare these results to our previous experience with laser surgery.Methods:
Patients found to have squamous intraepithelial lesions on colposcopically directed biopsies were offered treatment with LLETZ during counseling regarding their biopsy findings. Procedures included “ablation equivalents” and “cone biopsy equivalents” using local anesthesia. Follow-up examinations were used to determine cure and included cytology, colposcopy, and directed biopsies when indicated. The cure rate was compared to our previous experience with laser surgery.Results:
Two hundred thirty-six patients were treated in the colposcopy clinic without diminishing the capability to see all patients requiring care. Complications were few. The mean (± standard deviation) follow-up period was 50.7 ± 25.3 weeks. The overall cure rate of 91.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] 87.1-95.5) was not influenced by the severity of the disease, but positive endocervical margins significantly lowered the cure rate to 69.2% compared with those who had negative margins. Before this series, only 73.1% of our patients scheduled for laser surgery returned for treatment. Assuming a 90% cure rate among those who returned, this means that the actual cure rate was only 65.8%. The likelihood of cure was 1.37 times greater (95% CI 1.27-1.52; P < .0001) using LLETZ in the clinic at the time the patient was counseled regarding her biopsy findings than using laser at a later date. In 33 patients, the LLETZ specimen showed no evidence of disease. The relative risk of negative histology was 3.31 (95% CI 1.78-6.13; P < .001) when LLETZ was done for a discrepancy between cytology and histology as opposed to any other indication. Cancer was found on the LLETZ specimen in four, patients (two microinvasive, two frankly invasive), but was not suspected preoperatively in any of the patients.Conclusion:
In our inner-city clinic, treatment with LLETZ at the time the patient was counseled regarding her biopsy findings improved the actual cure rate. The LLETZ procedure can be done safely in a clinic setting without diminishing the capability to care for a large number of patients.