Tuesday, June 1, 2010

WHAT ARE POLYPS AND WHY ARE THEY REMOVED?


Polyps are abnormal growths from the lining of the colon. They vary in size from a tiny dot to several centimetres. The majority of polyps are benign (non-cancerous) but we cannot always tell a benign polyp from a malignant (cancerous) polyp by its outer appearance alone. For this reason, removed polyps are sent for analysis by a pathologist. Removal of colon polyps is an important means of preventing colorectal cancer.


HOW ARE POLYPS REMOVED?

Tiny polyps may be totally destroyed by fulguration (burning) but larger polyps are removed by a technique called snare polypectomy. The doctor passes a wire loop (snare) through the colonoscope and severs the attachment of the polyp from the intestinal wall by means of an electrical current. You should feel no pain during the polypectomy. There is a small risk that removing a polyp will cause bleeding or result in a burn to the wall of the colon (perforation), which could require emergency surgery.

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