Polypectomy

What is polypectomy?

Polyps are abnormal tissue growths that can form in any part of your body.

Polypectomy is the surgical procedure of removing polyps from different parts of your body, usually in the stomach or colon (large intestine). It is usually done during a gastroscopy or colonoscopy, where your surgeon is able to examine your entire large intestine, together with your rectum and anus. Your surgeon is thus able to determine the location and remove the polyps.

This procedure is typically done together with a histology to check if the growths are cancerous or non-cancerous to determine if further treatment is needed. Polyps are usually removed to minimise the chances that they may develop into cancer or other serious conditions.

Polypectomy is a simple and minimally-invasive procedure with a high success rate and a low risk of complication.

Why is a polypectomy done?

The removal of any polyps that are found in your stomach or colon (large intestine) is strongly encouraged to prevent cancer. In certain cases, polyps that have grown larger may cause troublesome symptoms including abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and irregular bowel movements. A polyp removal would relieve such symptoms.

What to expect?

Before the surgery

  • Do not take any fibre e.g. fruits and vegetables for dinner the night before.
  • You will be given oral fleet to clear your bowels the night before the procedure.
  • Fast for 8 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Stop any prescription of aspirin or other blood thinning medications with your doctor’s advice.

During the surgery

  • You will be given sedation to help you fall asleep during the procedure.
  • The procedure usually takes around 30 minutes to an hour.
  • An endoscope, which is a long and flexible tube with a camera at the end, is inserted through your anus.This enables your surgeon to determine the exact location of your polyp.
  • Your surgeon loops a thin wire, called a snare, around the base of the polyp. Heat is used to burn the polyp off to remove it. This heat also seals the wound to avoid bleeding.
  • The polyps will also be sent to the laboratory for testing.
  • After the procedure is done, the scope will be gently removed.

After the procedure

  • You may be discharged on the day of the procedure or the day after.
  • Most people recover completely within a few hours.
  • You may have to avoid food and drinks which irritate your digestive system as instructed. These include coffee, tea, alcohol and spicy foods.
  • Arrange a follow up appointment with your doctor within one to two weeks after the procedure.