Colon Polyps

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What causes colon polyps?

Colon polyps are small, often precancerous growths that arise from the interior lining of the bowel. Polyps generally don’t cause symptoms, so they go undetected unless a diagnostic exam, such as a colonoscopy, is performed. Because some polyps are destined to become cancerous, it’s important to have polyps removed.

Are most polyps cancerous?

Most polyps are not cancerous. The type of polyp, its location, and its size all play a role in determining the eventual risk of producing cancer cells. Your family history is one of the most significant indicators of the types of polyps your body will produce, and so are chronic gastrointestinal diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The most common type of pre-cancerous polyp – an adenoma – protrudes from the wall like a little bump, or may even hang off a stalk. Other polyps called “SSAs” are flat and can be hard to detect. Some polyps – termed “hyperplastic” – may have no precancerous potential at all.
Polyps range in size from a few millimeters in diameter to 4 inches or more.

Should colon polyps be removed?

Your doctor will make a judgment in real-time regarding whether to remove a polyp. We remove most polyps, but a few are inconsequential and can remain in place, while others are too big or too treacherous to remove. During the colonoscopy, your physician can remove polyps on the spot using small surgical tools that pass through the scope. Traditionally this type of removal required a traditional surgical approach through the abdominal wall under general anesthesia. With colonoscopic polypectomy, there is a minute risk of bleeding or serious injury/puncture of the colon wall, but fortunately, in most cases, the patient generally feels no after-effects.

What are the risk factors for making colon polyps?

Polyps become more prevalent as people age, making it essential to receive routine colorectal exams after the age of 45-50. Colon polyps are more prevalent in people with a family history of polyps, smokers, people with a sedentary lifestyle, and those who are overweight. In addition, polyps are more prevalent in individuals afflicted by Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis

What happens after a polyp removal?

Polyps removed via polypectomy undergo microscopic analysis. A lab will test the tissue for cancerous or precancerous cells. Based on the results of these biopsies, the doctor will tell you what follow up you should plan on. For example, the instruction may be that the next colonoscopy should occur in 5 years. In some cases, we recommend a second exam after a couple of months to ensure that we have entirely eradicated the polyp. In some cases, we order further testing such as imaging studies or blood or stool tests.

Research by NYGA doctors has advanced the field of polyp detection and resection, and NYGA doctors enjoy local and national recognition for their expertise and contributions to colonoscopic polypectomy.

Our Endoscopy Centers

The Endoscopy Center of New York and Carnegie Hill Endoscopy are 12,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facilities located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. NYGA physicians founded, direct, and perform procedures at these centers. We operate these facilities jointly with the Mount Sinai Hospital.

The centers have multiple large, fully equipped procedure rooms, a well-appointed, comfortable waiting room, a private registration area, and spacious pre-assessment and recovery areas. The centers have hosted more than 100,000 endoscopic procedures.

An individual anesthesiologist is dedicated to each patient for the duration of his or her procedure. We employ state-of-the-art vital signs monitoring throughout. This ensures comfort and safety.

Typically, your health insurance will cover all facility charges, anesthesia services, and pathology services related to your procedure.

By: New York Gastroenteroloy

Reviewed by: Leon Kavaler, MD

Published: Dec 10th, 2020

Last Reviewed: Apr 2nd, 2021

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