Polypectomy

Polypectomy means removal of polyps during colonoscopy.

What are Colonic Polyps?

Colonic polyps are growths that protrude into the lumen of the bowel. Polyps are usually removed because they can be the source of rectal bleeding or may contain cancer. Although the majority of polyps are benign (non cancerous), some may contain a small area of cancer or may develop cancer if left untouched. Removal of polyps is therefore an important means of prevention of cancer of the large bowel (colon).

What is Polypectomy?

Polypectomy means removal of polyps during colonoscopy. You should feel no pain during polyp removal. Small polyps can be removed by a biopsy forceps, which snips off small pieces of tissue. Larger polyps are usually removed by putting a loop, or snare, around the polyp base and burning through the tissue with electric cautery. Neither of these procedures is painful, and you will usually not be aware that they are being done. Rarely, if a polyp is too large it may require surgery for removal.

What is the risk of polypectomy?

Polypectomy is very safe, but all procedures entail some risks. The most common complications of polypectomy include bleeding and perforation (creating a hole in the colon). Fortunately, although these are the most common complications of polypectomy, they are still infrequent. Bleeding can usually be controlled during colonoscopy. Surgery is usually required for perforation. Other complications have been described but occur much less frequently.

What is the recommendation post polypectomy?

Some drugs, such as blood thinners (aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin) promote bleeding during and post polypectomy. You should follow the instruction of the doctor regarding usage of these medication prior and post polypectomy. In addition, you should follow your doctors instructions about finding out the results of the tissue analysis (histology) of polyps which were removed and when a repeat examination should be performed.