Colon Polyp

Colon polyps are small clusters of cells that grow along the lining of the colon or rectum. Colon polyps harbor cells that have developed mutations that allow then to grow uncontrolled. Once these cells acquire additional mutations, they can develop into colon cancer. The risk of developing colon cancer increases with the size of a polyp, which can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters. During a colonoscopy (add hyperlink), our doctors are able to find these polyps and remove them, thereby, removing the risk of cancer. If you are >50 or have had a personal or family history of polyps or colon cancer, you should make an appointment with one of our gastroenterologists for evaluation. contact us (add hyperlink). 

There are two common types of colon polyps: hyperplastic and adenomatous. Hyperplastic polyps generally begin and remain benign; although there are exceptions. Adenomatous polyps are the major pathway towards development of colon cancer, and should be removed during colonoscopy. The likelihood of an adenoma containing cancerous cells increases with the size of the polyp. 

Doctors can employ several techniques to screen patients for polyps. Fecal testing such as Cologuard can be used as a screening test to evaluate for presence of polyp. If the fecal test is positive, patient will require a colonoscopy for visualization and removal of polyp. 

Colonoscopy, is the gold standard, for polyp detection and removal.

During a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist uses a slender, flexible tube with a minuscule video camera to examine the rectum and entire colon while the patient is sedated and comfortable. This method has a preference for two reasons: It most accurately discovers polyps, and doctors can remove polyps during the examination. 

Doctors remove the majority of polyps during a colonoscopy using biopsy forceps or the snare technique: use of a wire loop that cuts and cauterizes.  Large or inaccessible polyps rarely require surgery and can be removed using techniques such as endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) or endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD).  Although highly uncommon, polyps’ removal can result in bleeding or colon perforation. These complications can generally be treated endoscopically and rarely require surgical treatment.

The frequency of follow-up colonoscopies varies according to various factors that include the type, size, and a number of previous polyps and how well a doctor can see the colon’s surface; clear viewing of the colon depends upon the quality of the colon cleanse prior to the procedure. Guidelines from the major Gastroenterology societies help guide this decision. 

To make an appointment with one of our gastroenterologists for evaluation, please contact us

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