Removal is the main treatment for colon polyps that put you at risk for cancer. After removal, a Mayo Clinic pathologist analyzes the polyps to determine if cancer is present.
Most polyps can be removed during the same procedure used to detect them (colonoscopy). At Mayo, if you have CT colonography, your polyps can be removed in a second procedure on the same day, avoiding repeat preparation.
Mayo Clinic specialists use these procedures to remove colon polyps:
- Snare. Small colon polyps can be snared with a wire loop that cuts and cauterizes (burns) their stalks to prevent bleeding.
- Endoscopic mucosal resection. A salt water solution is injected under the polyp to lift and separate it from the colon lining before a snare removes it. Endoscopic mucosal resection is usually used on large, flat polyps.
- Surgery. Colon polyps that are too large to snare or can't be reached safely are usually surgically removed. In most cases Mayo Clinic doctors use minimally invasive surgery, which usually results in a faster and less painful recovery than conventional surgery.
- Colon and rectum removal. If you have a rare hereditary polyp condition, such as familial adenomatous polyposis, Mayo specialists may recommend removing your entire colon and rectum (ileoanal anastamosis or J-pouch surgery). In many cases, ileoanal anastomosis can be performed laparoscopically. Mayo Clinic surgeons have performed more than 4,000 J-pouch surgeries, including more than 500 laparoscopic procedures.
Once polyps are removed, you have a moderate chance of developing new polyps in other areas of your colon. At Mayo, people who have had colon polyps are monitored closely so that any new polyps can be found early.
Read more about colon polyp treatment and endoscopic mucosal resection at MayoClinic.com.