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.
Jul. 16, 2011
- Polyps of the colon and rectum. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec02/ch021/ch021g.html#sec02-ch021-ch021e-1467. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- What I need to know about colon polyps. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/colonpolyps_ez/. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Colorectal cancer prevention and treatment. American Gastroenterological Association. http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/AGAPatientBrochure_ColorectalCancer.pdf. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Ahnen DJ, et al. Approach to the patient with colonic polyps. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Detailed guide: Colorectal cancer. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003096-pdf.pdf. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Torpy JM, et al. Colon polyps. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008;300:1480.
- Itkowitz SH, et al. Colonic polyps and polyposis syndromes. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed May 25, 2011.
- Ahnen DJ, et al. Colorectal cancer: Epidemiology, risk factors, and protective factors. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Tolliver KA, et al. Colonoscopic polypectomy. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America. 2008;37:229.
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