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A polypectomy is a medical procedure in which a polyp (a small, abnormal growth) is removed from the lining of the colon or rectum.

Polyps are usually benign (not cancerous), but some may be precancerous, which means they could develop into cancer over time.

Polypectomy can be performed as an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia.

Polyps are found during a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, which are procedures that allow your doctor to look at the lining of your colon or rectum.   The doctor inserts a lighted scope into the rectum and removes the polyps with a surgical instrument.

Polyps can vary in size, from a few millimeters to several centimeters.  They may be single or multiple, and they may grow on the inside lining of the colon or rectum.

In this article we talk about the purpose of a polypectomy, how it is performed, and the complications associated with having a polypectomy performed.

Polyps Explained

A colon polyp is a small, benign growth that forms on the lining of the colon. Although they are usually harmless, they can sometimes become cancerous.

Polyps are relatively common, and most people will develop at least one at some point in their lives. However, there are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing them, including age, family history, and certain medical conditions.

There are also a few different types of colon polyps, which can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters.

Treatment for colon polyps usually involves surgery to remove them. However, in some cases, they may be monitored with regular colonoscopies. 

polyps explained - Polypectomy: Everything You Need to Know About This Common Medical Procedure


What Is the Purpose of a Polypectomy?

Polypectomy is a common procedure that is safe and effective in preventing colon cancer.

Polypectomies are performed for a variety of reasons, including to prevent cancer, to remove a source of bleeding, or to relieve symptoms such as abdominal pain or diarrhea.

The procedure is relatively simple and is often performed as an outpatient procedure.

How Is a Polypectomy Performed?

A polypectomy can be performed in a number of ways, depending on the size and location of the polyp. The most common method is a colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy is an examination that enables your gastroenterologist to examine the lining of your colon (large intestine).

The GI inserts a colonoscope (a flexible tube with a camera at the tip) into the rectum and large intestine to carefully inspect the colon to look for signs of cancer or pre-cancerous lesions.

A clean colon is essential for the gastroenterologist to do an accurate examination for polyps or other abnormalities.

The most popular colonoscopy preparation method used involves drinking polyethylene glycol (PEG).

It is odorless, tasteless, and is mixed with certain clear liquids. PEG is to be drank along with other clear liquids the day before the scheduled procedure.

Your gastroenterologist will discuss with you your options and advise the best preparation method for you.

If the complex polyp is benign, with no signs of cancer present, then the patient may choose non-surgical removal instead of surgery.

If your gastroenterologist believes that removal of the polyp is needed, a wire loop or snare will be passed through the colonoscope.

This will sever the polyp from the intestinal wall via an electrical current, a procedure known as polypectomy.

Gastroenterologists usually recommend a colonoscopy when you turn 50, however, adults with a high risk and family history of colorectal cancer may need a colonoscopy at a younger age and more frequently.

It’s important to note that you will probably have other than your colonoscopy over the years, such as fecal occult blood tests, which can be a symptom of colon cancer.


polypectomy explained - Polypectomy: Everything You Need to Know About This Common Medical Procedure

What Are the Risks and Complications Associated with A Polypectomy?


The possible risks associated with a polypectomy procedure can include perforation of the bowel or rectal bleeding.

These risks are similar to those associated with a colonoscopy.

Although complications from either procedure are relatively rare, it is important to contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

Fever / Chills
If you are experiencing a fever or chills, it is important to seek medical attention as this could be indicative of an infection.

Heavy Bleeding / Sever Pain / Bloating
If you are experiencing heavy bleeding, severe pain or bloating in your abdomen, or vomiting, please seek medical attention immediately.

Irregular Heartbeat
An irregular heartbeat can also be a sign of a serious condition, so please do not hesitate to seek medical care if you are experiencing this symptom.


Who Is at Risk for Polyps?

Anyone can develop a polyp, but certain factors can increase your risk.

These include:

  • Older age
  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, and certain inherited syndromes.

In most cases, polyps do not cause symptoms.

If they do, the most common symptom is bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stool.

What Is the Recovery Time for A Polypectomy?

After a polypectomy, it is recommended that you do not drive for 24 hours.

Recovery typically does not take long, and minor side effects such as gassiness, bloating, and cramps usually go away within 24 hours.

If the procedure was more involved, however, a full recovery can take up to two weeks.

Your doctor will provide you with post-operative care instructions.

You may be asked to avoid consuming certain beverages and foods that can irritate your digestive system for two to three days following the procedure.

These can include:

  • Spicy Food
  • Alcohol
  • Sodas
  • Coffee
  • Tea

A follow-up colonoscopy will most likely be scheduled for you by your doctor.  It is crucial to confirm that the polypectomy was successful and that no additional polyps have developed.

colonoscopy explained - Polypectomy: Everything You Need to Know About This Common Medical Procedure

The Importance of Cancer Screening

When you are diagnosed with colonic polyps your doctor may want you to have more frequent screening to monitor your condition and prevent colon cancer.

Cancer screening is an important part of staying healthy.

It can help find cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. There are different types of cancer screenings. Some tests look for cancer before you have any symptoms.

 Other tests are used to find cancer after you have symptoms. Talk to your doctor about which screenings are right for you based on your age, health history, family history, and other factors.

polypectomy infographic - Polypectomy: Everything You Need to Know About This Common Medical Procedure


Contact Dr. Schneider

In conclusion, it is important to understand the risks and causes of colon polyps in order to take steps to prevent them.

Polypectomy is a common medical procedure that is used to remove abnormal growths from the colon.

It is a safe and effective way to treat colon cancer, and it can also be used to remove precancerous polyps from the colon.

Polypectomy is usually performed on an outpatient basis, and most people recover from the procedure quickly and without complication

While some polyps are benign, others can develop into cancer.

Anyone can get colon polyps, but there are certain risk factors that increase your chances of developing them.

These include age, family history, smoking, and certain medical conditions. If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk.

If you are concerned about colon polyps, talk to us today to book your appointment.

For further reading on the procedures we perform, please visit our website or contact Dr. Schneider on 011-482-3010. 



The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.