A polypectomy is the surgical removal of a polyp, a small growth protruding from a mucous membrane.

What is it?

A polypectomy is the surgical removal of a polyp, a small growth protruding from a mucous membrane. Although the exact cause of polyps is unknown, it is believed that genetic predisposition, age, and dietary habits may contribute to polyp development. These growths can be benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous. Polyps commonly form in the colon or other areas in the gastrointestinal tract, but can develop on any mucous membrane of the body, including the nasal and oral cavities. A polypectomy is a method used to remove both benign and cancerous polyps to prevent future health concerns associated with the enlarged growth.

How do you prepare?

The presence of polyps within the nasal cavity can be determined through endoscopy, CT scans, or MRI scans. Allergy tests, including a blood test, are also used in some cases. Reoccurring sinusitis, and subsequent polyp growth may be linked to specific allergies. Nasal polyps are more commonly treated using nasal corticosteroids and medications. If these methods are unsuccessful, surgical interventions may be the next option for treatment. Individuals undergoing a nasal polypectomy may be asked to refrain from eating after midnight the night before the procedure. Individuals should also follow any pre-op orders given to them by their surgeon.

What happens during the process?

There are two methods commonly used to remove polyps from the nasal cavity. Endoscopic sinus surgery removes smaller polyps within the nostril. The surgeon inserts an endoscope, a small inspecting tool, into the nostril to examine the nasal cavity. Small surgical tools are then used to loop around the base of the polyp, detach the growth from the mucous membrane and remove it via the nostril. During surgery, other sinus issues, such as inflammation, may be addressed and corrected.

Traditional sinus surgery is less common and is typically used as a form of cancer surgery. In traditional sinus surgery, the polyps are removed through incisions made to gain direct access to the nasal cavity and inside of the nose.

Risks and Complications?

The risks and complications associated with most surgical interventions apply. These include reactions to anesthesia and the potential for excessive bleeding, both during or after the procedure. There are specific risks and complications associated with a nasal polypectomy. Patients may experience chronic nasal drainage, dryness of nose, or develop a post-operative sinus infection. Some experience difficulty healing, leading to the development of scar tissue and possible adhesions. Although atypical, some individuals may experience a reduction or loss of smell and taste. It is also a possibility that the procedure will be unsuccessful or there will be a reoccurrence of polyps within the nasal cavity.


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