Colon polyps are benign growths involving the lining of the bowel. They look like small bumps growing from the lining of the bowel and protruding into the lumen (bowel cavity). They sometimes grow on a “stalk” and look like mushrooms. They vary in size from less than a quarter of an inch to several inches in diameter. They can occur in several locations in the gastrointestinal tract but are most common in the colon. Many patients have several polyps scattered in different parts of the colon.
Colon polyps are very common in adults, who have an increased chance of acquiring them as they age. It is estimated that the average 50-year-old without special risk factors for polyps has a 25 percent chance of having a polyp.