Specimen Fragmentation and Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure and Cold Knife Cone Biopsy Outcomes

Jessica Grubman, Summer S. Meinhardt, Anjali Nambiar, Jayanthi S. Lea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Surgical technique for loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) and cold knife cone (CKC) emphasizes a uniform specimen, but sequelae of specimen fragmentation are not established. We evaluated outcomes between fragmented and unfragmented excisional biopsy specimens. Materials and Methods: Loop electrosurgical excision procedure and CKCs from January 2010 to October 2013 were reviewed. Intraepithelial lesion grade, fragmentation, margin, and Endocervical curettage status were analyzed. Adenocarcinoma in situ and cancer were excluded. Repeat procedures during the study period were included in follow-up. Loop electrosurgical excision procedures with top hat with no separate fragments were analyzed independently versus those with fragmented LEEP and/or top hat. Indeterminate margin was defined as inconclusive or unevaluable margin, or intraepithelial lesion in unidentifiable margin or fragment. Outcomes involved residual or recurrent disease and repeat procedures for intraepithelial lesion. χ2 was used for statistical analysis. Results: Fragmented specimens were more likely to have any positive margin (p =.01), multiple positive margins (p <.001), and indeterminate margin (p <.001) than unfragmented specimens. There was no significant difference in rates of positive, insufficient, or high-grade Endocervical curettage (p =.74, 0.54, 0.92). Patients with fragmented specimens were more likely to have high-grade lesion recurrence in the following 3 years (p =.04) versus patients with index unfragmented specimens, though not compared with those with unfragmented LEEP + top-hat cases. Overall rates of repeat LEEP/CKC or hysterectomy for dysplasia were not different (p =.56). Conclusions: Fragmentation of LEEP and CKC specimens is associated with higher rates of positive margins, recurrent high-grade intraepithelial lesions, and indeterminate margins. These may cause diagnostic uncertainty, require closer follow-up, and increase cost with more visits and studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Lower Genital Tract Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • cervical intraepithelial lesions
  • gynecologic surgical procedures
  • secondary prevention
  • surgical pathology
  • uterine cervical dysplasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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