A polyp is a small growth in the lining of the colon, and a polypectomy is a procedure to remove one (or more) of these. Most polyps are removed during a colonoscopy, although some polyps may not be able to be removed if they are very large or in a difficult location. Polyps that cannot be removed using standard colonoscopy may require other specialized colonoscopic methods of removing polyps or surgery.
Where a polypectomy is carried out during a colonoscopy, tools are introduced into the colonoscope to catch and remove the polyp in a type of noose (polyps up to 20mm are generally removed this way).
These procedures are carried out under a light anaesthetic and can take between 30mins and 40mins to complete.
Having polyps removed via colonoscopy is a low risk procedure. The risks include:
- Gastro-intestinal perforation.
- Polypectomy burn (a very rare condition called post-polypectomy electrocoagulation syndrome which can occur when a polyp is removed).