How are polyps treated?
There are a variety of different techniques to remove polyps but most consist of passing a wire through the colonoscope and looping the wire around the polyp (like a lasso) to remove it. This procedure is quite painless and only one examination is needed to clear the bowel of polyps. Occasionally, there may be too many polyps for all of them to be removed safely at one time and the procedure may need to be repeated.

Once they have been removed, all polyps are sent to the laboratory for microscopic analysis. This will show whether or not the polyp has been completely removed, whether it has the potential to develop malignancy and, of course, to be sure that cancer has not already developed.

Will I need any further examinations?
You will probably need to have a follow-up examination if the microscopic findings indicate the polyp has any malignant potential. If so, your doctor will recommend a repeat colonoscopy in the future to check whether new polyps have grown. Depending on what is found at that time, your doctor may either suggest that nothing further need be done or that you should return for a further test in three to five years time.

Further Information
National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov
American Gastroenterological Association: www.gastro.org

Last Reviewed: May 2013