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.
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).
Colectomy, also known as a colorectal resection, is the surgical removal (resection) of part or all of the large intestine. Some polyps in the rectum are amenable to transanal excision. Minimally invasive removal may be possible using transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEMS), or if within reach, via traditional techniques.
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.
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.