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Know all about Colon polyps !!


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What are polyps ?

In a common man’s language, it is an abnormal growth of tissue, growing from the inner lining (mucosa) of our organs. They are commonly seen in the colon, stomach, nose, ear, sinuses, bladder, and uterus.

What’s so important about colon polyps?

Colon polyps have been extensively studied and the majority of polyps are not bothersome. A small percentage of them can increase in size and progress to malignancy (cancer).

Who is at risk of developing colon polyps?

Older age, family history of colon polyps or colon malignancy, excessive smoking, alcohol abuse, obesity, lack of physical activity or people having inflammatory conditions of the colon like colitis are at risk of developing colon polyps.

How does one come to know whether they have colon polyps?

Symptoms of colon polyps can be passing blood in motions (bleeding P/R), alteration in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, passage of mucus along with stool) or detected incidentally when colonoscopy is done.

What should one do if they have colon polyps?

A gastroenterologist or an endoscopist detects polyps on colonoscopy and a biopsy is taken to characterise the polyp. Based on what is found on microscopic examination, they are categorised as low, moderate or high risk.

How to get rid of colon polyps?

Smaller polyps are biopsied or removed by cold snaring. Polyps larger than 10 mm need to be removed using a snare and electrocautery. This procedure is known as polypectomy. Newer techniques are available for the removal of larger polyps, also known as EMR (Endoscopic mucosal resection) and ESD (Endoscopic submucosal dissection).

Is polypectomy a safe procedure?

Generally, polypectomy is a safe procedure. Some major complications which can occur during or after the procedure are bleeding and perforation of the colon. When such complications occur, the endoscopist uses the tools available (clips, injections, loops) to correct them.

What are the precautions to be taken by the doctor before polypectomy?

Your treating doctor, before planning polypectomy, is expected to check and make sure the patient’s platelet counts and tests of coagulation are within normal limits. Also, the doctor may ask the patient to stop blood thinners (anti platelet agents or anti coagulants).

Dr Santhosh Kumar SC,

MBBS MD DNB is a Gastroenterologist, hepatologist and therapeutic endoscopist practicing in Bangalore.

(The above blog is for educational purposes. Please consult a GI specialist/Gastroenterologist for evaluation and treatment of your condition)

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