When Do Polyps Need To Be Removed? Colonoscopy & Colon Polypectomy

Reducing Cancer Risk With A Colon Polypectomy

Colon polyps are abnormal growths that can develop inside the digestive system. Polyps in the colon usually don’t cause any noticeable symptoms. Regular screenings can help ensure patients don’t develop cancerous polyps. Finding polyps early using conventional screening methods can improve the chance of recovery.

Do polyps need to be removed at all?

Most colon polyps are harmless. Despite the benign nature of most polyps, the growths can become cancerous over time. Experts recommend all polyps be removed to avoid taking any chances. The type of removal procedure depends on the size of the growth. A small polyp can be removed during a colonoscopy screening.

Colonoscopy types

A colonoscopy is an exam used to detect any irregularities in the colon’s lining, also known as the large intestine, and rectum. During the procedure, a long and flexible tube called a colonoscope is inserted into the rectum. The tube has a small video camera at the tip to identify any abnormalities inside. A virtual colonoscopy uses a CT scan to see the inside of the colon. If any polyps are found, the surgeon can remove the polyps through the scope during the procedure. The surgeon can also take tissue samples during the exam to determine if the polyps are cancerous or not.

Colon polypectomy

A colon polypectomy is a procedure that involves removing polyps from inside the large intestine. Polyps are usually removed to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Large polyps can cause rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and irregular bowel movements. The procedure can last between 30-60 minutes.

Preventing the complications of large polyps

All cancerous polyps start as benign growths. Patients with large polyps may need to have more invasive surgery than a colon polypectomy. A colectomy surgically removes a part of the colon. Procedure risks include significant bleeding and colon damage. An endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) is a newer way to prevent removing part of the colon.

A colonoscopy is the first step

If no abnormalities are found in the colon, a doctor may recommend another colonoscopy in 10 years for the average patient. If the patient has a family history of polyps or colon cancer, a colonoscopy can be performed in 5 years. If polyps are found, a doctor may recommend a repeat colonoscopy in a few years or perform a surgical removal procedure. For more information, speak with a healthcare provider.


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