Colon polyps are growths that form on the inner lining of the large intestine (colon) or rectum. Most polyps are benign (not cancerous). But over time, some polyps can become malignant (cancerous) when cells begin growing abnormally, invading more of the colon and rectum. To be safe, it is recommended that all colon and rectal polyps be removed and tested to identify cancer and help prevent it from ever forming.
Board certified colon and rectal surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) offer advanced, minimally invasive surgery approaches for patients with colon polyps, such as polypectomy and colectomy to surgically remove colon polyps, and transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEMS) to remove rectal polyps.
Though most people do not have symptoms of colon polyps, you may experience rectal bleeding and blood in your stool. Anyone can get polyps, but if you are older than age 50, have a family history of polyps or colon cancer or have inflammatory bowel disease, you may be at increased risk. Learn more about screening for colon polyps.
Beginning at age 50, men and women should follow one of these examination schedules:
People with colorectal cancer risk factors should begin screening procedures at an earlier age and/or be screened more often.
Your surgeon will ask about your health history, your family’s history of cancer and any risk factors. Diagnostic test may include:
Colon and rectal surgeons at BWH remove colon polyps with the following minimally invasive surgical techniques:
Polypectomy is the removal of a polyp during a colonoscopy, using a wire loop passed through a colonoscope. The wire loop severs the polyp from the colon using an electric current. Polyp tissue is sent for further examination (biopsy).
You will receive a thorough diagnostic examination to evaluate if you have colon polyps and if surgery is needed. Careful monitoring and the involvement of an experienced colon and rectal surgeon are important to the successful outcome for patients with colorectal conditions.
If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled for a visit to the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation for pre-operative information and tests.
The day of surgery, you will be taken care of in the operating room by surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who specialize in colon polyp surgery. After surgery, you will go to the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by an experienced surgical and nursing staff.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital provides a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, collaborating with colleagues who have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating colon polyps. In addition, patients have full access to BWH’s world-renowned academic medical community with its diverse specialists and state-of-the-art facilities.
Go to our health library to learn more about colon polyp screening.
Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families to access computers and knowledgeable staff.
Visit the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation.
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