The paper describes the technique of 'LLETZ' (large loop excision of the transformation zone), a new method of management for women with an abnormal cervical smear which offers the advantages of conization with those of local destruction. A large loop of thin wire forms a diathermy electrode that allows deep excision of the transformation zone with minimal tissue damage. The tissue removed can be examined histologically. The technique was used to investigate and treat 111 women with abnormal smears referred to the Bristol Royal Infirmary during 1986. Microinvasive disease was revealed in one woman where it was not suspected by cytology or colposcopic examination. Of 102 women followed up for at least 1 year by cytology, colposcopy and, where appropriate, histology, two women were found to have residual/recurrent cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.