What are Polyps?
Polyps are abnormal growths rising from the lining of the large intestine (colon and rectum) and normally protruding into the intestinal canal (lumen). Some Polyps are flat; others have a stalk. Polyps are one of the most common conditions affecting the colon and rectum, occurring in 15-20 percent of the adult population. Although most Polyps are benign, the relationship of certain Polyps to cancer is well established.
Polyps are diagnosed either by looking at the colon lining directly (Colonoscopy) or by imaging. Most colon examinations using the flexible colonoscope, including polyp removal, can be performed on an outpatient basis with minimal discomfort. Large Polyps may require more than one treatment for complete removal. Some Polyps cannot be removed by instruments because of their size or position; surgery is then required. Once a Polyp is completely removed, its recurrence is very unusual. However, the same factors that caused the polyp to form are still present. New Polyps will develop in at least 30 percent of people who have previously had Polyps. Patients should have regular exams by a physician specially trained to treat diseases of the colon and rectum.