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A polyp is a protrusion (lump) from the bowel’s lining. Some polyps are attached to the intestinal wall by a stalk and look like a mushroom, whereas others are flat, without a stalk. When found, polyps are generally removed or sampled by the endoscopist as they may grow and cause problems later. Flat polyps are more difficult to remove.

Polypectomy is a relatively noninvasive procedure usually done with an endoscopy or colonoscopy. A polyp may be removed in one of two ways, using an electrical current known as diathermy.

For large polyps, a snare (wire loop) will be placed around the polyp, a high-frequency current is applied, and the polyp is removed.

Flat polyps (without any stalk) can be removed by a procedure called EMR. This involves injecting the lining of the bowel that surrounds the flat polyp. This raises the area and allows the wire loop snare to capture the polyp.

For smaller polyps, biopsy forceps (cupped forceps) are used. These hold the polyp while the diathermy is applied, destroying the polyp.

Why Is Polypectomy Performed?

A colonoscopy or endoscopy is first performed to detect the presence of single or multiple polyps in the colon. If polyps are present, these are removed by polypectomy. The tissue removed will be examined to evaluate whether the growths are benign, precancerous, or cancerous. If detected early, this can prevent cancer of the colon.

Small polyps are not usually associated with any troublesome symptoms. If polyps are more prominent, they may cause problems depending on the site of origin like;

  • Bowel irregularities
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding

Your bowel must be empty to allow a clear view during the test. Therefore you must follow the bowel preparation instructions.

Increasing your intake of clear fluids on the day before your test is essential. You may drink water up to 2 hours before your test. The bowel preparation (MoviPrep) instruction leaflet also gives a list of clear fluids.

What can you expect?

If you are diagnosed with having a polyp at any site in the body, your doctor may suggest you undergo a polypectomy to remove polyps and relieve symptoms. The excised tissue is further examined to detect any benign or malignant growth. Your doctor will tell you the results in detail.

Possible side effects

A polypectomy’s side effects or complications are the same as a colonoscopy and can include rectal bleeding or perforation of the bowel. These complications are, however, rare. If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact Dr. Aneeta Talwar, Best Gynaecologist and Obestrician in Bangalore immediately:

  • Severe abdominal pain (not cramp caused by wind).
  • A sudden passing of a large amount of bleeding from your back passage (if a minimal amount of blood, take no action).
  • A firm and swollen abdomen.
  • Vomiting
  • High temperature or feeling feverish.

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