Most polyps found during colonoscopy can be completely removed during the procedure. Various removal techniques are available; most involve severing them with a wire loop and/or burning the polyp base with an electric current. This is called polyp resection. Because the bowel lining is not sensitive to cutting or burning, polyp resection does not cause discomfort. Resected polyps are then examined under a microscope to determine the tissue type and to detect any cancer.
What are the risks of colon polyp removal?
Colon polyp removal (or polypectomy) during colonoscopy is a routine outpatient procedure. Possible complications, which are uncommon, include bleeding from the polypectomy site and perforation (a hole) of the colon. Bleeding from the polypectomy site can be immediate or delayed for several days; persistent bleeding can almost always be stopped by treatment during colonoscopy. Perforations usually require surgery to repair.
How often do I need a colonoscopy if have polyps removed?
Your doctor will decide when your next colonoscopy is necessary. The timing depends on several factors, including the number and size of polyps removed, the polyps’ tissue type and the quality of the colon cleansing for your previous procedure. The quality of cleansing affects your doctor’s ability to see the surface of the colon. If the polyps were small and the entire colon was well seen during your colonoscopy, doctors generally recommend a repeat colonoscopy in one to three years. If your repeat colonoscopy does not show any indication of polyps, you might not need another procedure for an additional within five years. However, if the polyps were large and flat, your doctor might recommend an interval of only months before a repeat colonoscopy to assure complete polyp removal. Your doctor will discuss those options with you.