Background: "See and treat" electrosurgical loop excision of the cervical transformation zone (ELECTZ) is an excisional surgical procedure that enables simultaneous histologic diagnosis and treatment of premalignant cervical disease, thus eliminating the need for a preliminary cervical biopsy and an additional patient visit. Indications for the procedure include an abnormal cervical Papanicolaou (Pap) smear and a colposcopic impression of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). The purpose of this study was to assess the "see and treat" ELECTZ procedure performed by family physicians.
Methods: Women who were scheduled for colposcopic evaluation because of an abnormal cervical cytology report were enrolled from the practices of three family physician colposcopists located at three sites. The "see and treat" ELECTZ procedure was performed on patients with both abnormal Pap smear results and abnormal colposcopic findings. Procedural complications were documented. Subjects were evaluated at follow-up examinations during the first postoperative year to determine therapeutic cure.
Results: "See and treat" ELECTZ was performed on 48 women. The histologic results from "see and treat" ELECTZ were normal for 36.1% of subjects. When subjects with a low-grade lesion on Pap smear were considered, 40.7% had normal loop histologic findings. Of women with a preoperative colposcopic impression of low-grade lesion, 54.2% had normal histologic results, and 12% of women with a high-grade colposcopic impression had normal histologic results (P<.001). When the colposcopic impression was reported as high-grade disease, 82% of loop specimens were reported as CIN 2 or 3.
Conclusions: Selective use of "see and treat" ELECTZ may be appropriate only when practiced by experienced colposcopists who are able to reliably differentiate low-grade from high-grade disease by means of colposcopy, and if cytologic and colposcopic findings unequivocally indicate high-grade cervical disease.