Gastroenterology

Polypectomy

Description

A polypectomy is a surgical removal of the polyps (mass of tissues) from the inner linings of the large intestine or colon in order to prevent colon cancer. If the polyps go unnoticed and untreated, it can grow larger and cause rectal bleeding, bowel issues and abdominal pain. It is usually performed if colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy is not enough to treat the condition due to health conditions.

Before starting the surgical procedure, the doctor will perform several tests such as physical examination, blood tests, x-rays, digestive system tests, health history, etc. to get a clear view of the polyps. This will help the doctor determine the best possible treatment. In order to prepare you for the polypectomy, your colon needs to be cleaned thoroughly with enemas, laxatives, clear liquid diet and oral medications for a smooth process. You need to tell the doctor about your current prescriptions and medical history a week before the procedure. You must not eat or drink before the procedure.

The doctor will place you under local anesthesia to help you get relaxed. The doctor will then insert a long, flexible tube with a camera on top through the anus and slowly pushes it towards your rectum and colon. Some air will also be passed through the scope to get a clear view of the colon and to locate the polyp. Once located, the doctor will use tiny tools attached to the scope to cut the polyp and remove it. In some cases, the polyp is also destroyed with an electric current that also closes the wound and stop bleeding. Once the polyp is removed, the scope will be taken out and the air will escape.

If the polyps are large, the procedure may require to make an incision in the abdomen to cut and remove the polyps. The whole procedure lasts from 30-60 minutes, depending on the size and location of the polyps.

Complications

There are typically very rare complications associated with polypectomy, but no procedure is completely risk free. Possible complications of the treatment could be:

  • Perforation or damage to colon wall

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Abdominal pain

  • Discomfort

  • Bowel issues

  • Fever and chills

  • Swelling or redness

Post operative care

Once the treatment is finished, the polyp will be sent to the lab for further tests and you can leave home the same day. You can expect a full recovery within 2 weeks. On leaving the facility, you will be given certain instructions that you need to follow. You may feel discomfort post the procedure. The passing of gas will help you feel relaxed and ease cramps.

Avoid coffee, tea, spicy foods and alcohol for a couple of days after the surgery as it can lead to digestive issues.

Follow up check ups will need to be visited in order to see if polyps are coming back.

Notify the doctor at once, if you see any signs of infection, cough, shortness of breath and fever.

You may also be given pain medications to relieve from increased pain.