A colon polyp may be found during a routine colonoscopy procedure. Polyps are abnormal growths on the inside lining of the colon. They vary in size and shape and usually cause no symptoms.
A colonoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used most often to screen for colon cancer and to identify and correct bleeding problems within the colon. Colonoscopy is the best way to check for colon cancer and to treat polyps. Once a polyp is found and removed, patients are put in a colonoscopy observation period. Doing so allows the physician to keep a close eye on patients who routinely form polyps.
Three elements define the observation period given to patients:
- The size of the largest polyp found on the initial colonoscopy
- The number of polyps found on the initial colonoscopy
- The most advanced histology found on the last colonoscopy
Here are the recommendations for the most common situations encountered after a screening colonoscopy:
A colonoscopy is needed within 5 years of the initial procedure if:
- One or two small tubular adenomas were found
A colonoscopy is needed within 3 years of the initial procedure if:
- Three or more small tubular adenomas were found
- At least one large tubular adenoma was found
- Any polyp had villous features
- Any polyp had high-grade dysplasia
A colonoscopy is needed less than 3 years of the initial procedure if:
- More than ten adenomas were found
- Invasive colon cancer was found in a polyp
To obtain additional information on your upcoming colonoscopy or about colon polyps, please do not hesitate to contact your gastroenterologist.