Polypectomy and Biopsy

If a polyp (abnormal growths of tissue) is found during a colonoscopy or EGD, and the doctor determines it should be removed, he or she will perform a polypectomy. This involves passing a forceps or a wire loop through the endoscope to painlessly sever the attached polyp. Often polyps are removed because they can cause bleeding or may contain cancer. Though the majority of polyps are benign (non cancerous), a small percentage may contain cancer or may develop into cancer. By removing the polyp (polypectomy) or taking a sample of the polyp tissue (polyp biopsy), the doctor can determine if it is cancerous.

What do I need to know for my polypectomy?

BEFORE: Based on the specifics of your planned colonoscopy, your doctor will tell you what dietary restrictions to follow and what cleansing routine to use. In general, you will need to:

  • Limit your diet to clear liquids the day before
  • Consume either a large volume of a special cleansing solution or special oral laxatives

Your doctor will provide full preparation instructions to follow.

DURING: Typically, your doctor will administer a sedative or painkiller to help you relax during your colonoscopy. You will lie on your side or back while your doctor slowly advances a colonoscope along your large intestine to examine the lining. The procedure usually takes less than 45 minutes, but you should plan on 2-3 hours for the entire process, from check-in to recovery, to check-out. If the colonoscope cannot pass through the entire colon, your doctor may recommend additional testing.

AFTER: Once in the recovery area, you will be monitored until most of the effects of the sedatives have worn off. After, you might experience cramping or bloating due to the air introduced into the colon during the exam, but it should disappear quickly when you pass gas. Someone must drive you home and stay with you, even if you feel alert after the procedure. Your judgment and reflexes could be impaired for the rest of the day. You should be able to eat after the examination, but your doctor might restrict your diet and activities.