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This surgery involves the removal of a polyp from the gastrointestinal tract.  This includes removing polyps from the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and colon. Polyps result from abnormal tissue growths that form into lumps, causing pain or creating obstructions.

What is it?

A polypectomy procedure is typically performed with a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy to remove an abnormal growth developing in the colon or rectum.  There are many different kinds of polyps that can develop in a patient’s GI tract, some of them being relatively harmless while others are precursors to cancer.  In general, the larger the polyp is, the more likely it can lead to cancer.  The symptoms that manifest due to colon polyps can also differ, whether it be rectal bleeding or chronic stomach/abdominal pain.

What should I do to prepare?

Individuals will need to undergo various blood tests and other screenings prior to surgery. Individuals should not consume food within twenty-four hours prior to the procedure and may need to avoid certain dietary supplements and medications.  Ask your doctor how soon you should stop taking diabetes medications prior to the surgery.  Patients may also receive anticoagulation treatment before the surgery to avoid the formation of blood clots.  The patient’s colon will also need to be cleansed before surgery; the doctor may choose a number of different techniques to clean the patient’s intestines before the operation.

What happens during the process?

The patient will receive a strong sedative before the procedure, but usually, the patient is awake for the entire surgery.  The patient will lie on their side or their back while the camera and tools are inserted through the anus.  The scope will slowly move through the colon, adding air inside the intestines to find the polyp easier.  After the polyp is found, it is removed using a small wire or electric current.  The electric current also seals the wound and prevents bleeding.  If the polyp is not readily available, a liquid may be injected into the colon to raise the polyp away from the intestinal wall.  The entire procedure can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.  Follow-up colonoscopies are common if the polyps found were large or thought to be precancerous.

What are the risks and potential complications?

Some associated risks and complications include, but are not limited to, damage to the colon wall, excessive bleeding or infection, adverse reaction to the sedative, and blood clots.


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Image Source: http://www.mountsinai.org/patient-care/health-library/treatments-and-procedures/colon-polypectomy#risk