A polypectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a polyp, which is abnormal tissue, from the inside of your colon. The procedure is usually performed through the anus, during a colonoscopy. If you have a small polyp, it’s snipped off with biopsy forceps or, if it’s a larger one, it’s removed with a snare that uses heat to cut the growth off.
At A Glance: Polypectomy
Also Known As
General or Local
Typical Recovery Time
Typical Price Range
Tell Me About The Surgery
Procedure Research and Consultation
How is a polypectomy done?
During a polypectomy, you will lie on your side with your knees drawn up towards your chest as the procedure is done through your anus. A small amount of air is used to expand your colon, so the doctor can see your colon’s walls. (If you are awake, you may feel mild cramping during the procedure.) The colonoscope is slowly withdrawn while the lining of your bowel is examined. If polyps are discovered, there are several ways they can be removed. The procedure your doctor chooses will depend on the type of polyps in your colon. For small polyps less than 5 millimeters in diameter, biopsy forceps can be used to snip them off. Larger polyps can be removed through a snare polypectomy, when your doctor will loop a thin wire around the bottom of the polyp and use heat to cut it off. Then the remaining tissue is cauterized. If you have a polyp that can’t be removed with either of the two above methods, there are other options. Your surgeon can perform either an endoscopic mucosal resection, when the polyp is lifted using a fluid injection and then removed in pieces, or an endoscopic submucosal dissection, when the polyp is removed in one piece. There are some large polyps that can’t be removed endoscopically and, in those cases, bowel surgery might be necessary. Once a polyp is removed, it can then be sent to a lab where it will be tested to determine if it is cancerous. (The results of these tests are usually available in about a week.)
What issue does a polypectomy solve?
A polypectomy is usually used to remove noncancerous growths before they become cancerous.
Do I have options for anesthesia for a polypectomy?
A polypectomy can be done with conscious sedation, sometimes referred to as “twilight sedation,” or with a deeper sedation using general anesthesia.
How do I know a polypectomy is right for me?
Most polypectomies occur during colonoscopies—your surgeon will determine whether, or not, you need a polypectomy while performing your colonoscopy. You might be a good candidate for these procedures if you are a person of average risk for colorectal cancer. It’s recommended that you get your first colonoscopy between ages 45 and 50.
How safe is a polypectomy?
In general, severe complications from polypectomies are rare. You should also know that Hancock Regional Hospital has been rated one of the safest hospitals in America by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care watchdog organization; and was named the safest hospital in Indiana on the Lown Institute Hospital Index.
What are possible side effects and complications of a polypectomy?
While rare, some of the possible complications of your polypectomy may include bleeding from the site where a tissue sample (biopsy) was taken or a polyp or other abnormal tissue was removed, a tear in the colon or rectum wall, or an adverse reaction to the sedative used during the exam.
What are the possible side effects of general anesthesia?
Some of the possible side effects include nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, bruising (from the IV), itching, shivering and feeling cold, difficulty urinating, and sleepiness. In older patients, memory loss and temporary confusion are possible.
What are the alternatives to a colonoscopy and polypectomy?
There are other ways to screen for colon cancer. These include stool tests, such as the fecal immunochemical test (FIT), fecal occult blood test (FOBT), and stool DNA tests. These tests allow you to collect your stool samples at home and then return them to your doctor or mail them to a lab.
What are the risks of not having a polypectomy?
Polypectomies are used to check for colorectal cancer. Delaying or avoiding a polypectomy may put you at risk for undiagnosed cancer or other gastrointestinal conditions.
What kind of outcome is typical for a polypectomy?
A polypectomy should allow your doctor to determine if you have any cancerous tissue in the colon. Follow-up colonoscopies and polypectomies will depend on the results of your first one.
Consultation and Choosing A Surgeon or Surgical Team
Do I need a referral to see a surgeon for a polypectomy?
Your health insurance provider may require you to get a referral from your primary care provider to see a surgeon about a polypectomy.
What should I bring to my first appointment with a surgeon?
Insurance information Medical records, including your medical history, from your primary care physicianA complete list of all medications you take on a regular basis, including any over-the-counter medication
Do I have to get a second or third opinion for a polypectomy?
You can always get a second or third opinion, but it isn’t required.
How should I decide which surgeon’s advice to follow?
You should work with the surgeon with whom you feel comfortable, whether that’s one of our surgeons or not.
Will the surgical team know my health history?
Your health history will be compiled and available to the team before, during, and after surgery. If you’re a Hancock Health patient, we will be able to access your records within our system. If you aren’t, we will work with your doctors to get the necessary information.
Why might I have to wait to schedule a polypectomy?
In some cases, it takes time for a patient’s body to be ready for a polypectomy. For example, if you have another medical issue including another surgical procedure or an illness, we might wait to perform your polypectomy. Your health and safety are our top priorities, so we schedule surgeries when they’re best for our patients.
Insurance & Cost
How much does a polypectomy cost?
Consult the Price Transparency Tool at HancockRegionalHospital.org for an idea of how much a polypectomy might cost.
Will insurance cover my polypectomy?
In most cases, insurance will cover most of the costs associated with a polypectomy. To obtain an estimate of your possible out-of-pocket expenses, use our Price Estimator Tool.
Will Medicare cover my polypectomy?
Medicare parts A and B will cover the cost of a polypectomy, but it’s important for your doctor to indicate that the surgery is medically necessary.
What are payment options like for polypectomy at Hancock Health?
Hancock Health is committed to helping make great care affordable for all patients. To find out more about payment options, please visit the billing and insurance FAQ page at HancockRegionalHospital.org.
Pre-op and Day of Surgery
How should I prepare for a polypectomy?
As a patient, you play a critical role ahead of your polypectomy through a process called bowel preparation. There are a few different kinds, almost all of which involve consuming a liquid. Your doctor will determine what kind is best for you based on your medical history and their particular preference. Some of these products require a prescription, while others are available over-the-counter. They all have the same goal: to remove everything in your colon prior to the procedure. You may experience some skin irritation around the anus due to the passage of liquid stools. You can prevent and treat this skin irritation by applying ointment to the skin around the anus before drinking the bowel preparation medication.
Why can’t I eat before surgery?
For your polypectomy, it’s important that your colon is completely clear. There’s also a risk of aspiration, which means you’re breathing foreign objects, like food or saliva, into your lungs. This can occur because the anesthetic for surgery can impair your body’s ability to stop the contents of your stomach from entering your lungs.
What should I expect right before a polypectomy?
You’ll arrive several hours before your surgery and be escorted to the preoperative waiting area.You’ll remove all of your clothing and jewelry, and put on a hospital gown. (Your valuables will be placed in a secure area or may be given to a family member.) You’ll sign any necessary paperwork and a preoperative nurse will take your vital signs, review your medications, and answer any questions.You’ll meet your anesthesiologist and the members of your surgery team. An I.V. (intravenous line) will be placed in your hand or arm, so medications—including general anesthesia—can be administered. If you’re using a different kind of anesthesia, you’ll receive an injection.When it’s time for your surgery, you will be wheeled into the operating suite on a stretcher.
Will I need someone to take me home after a polypectomy?
For your safety and the safety of other motorists, you willneed someone to drive you home. If you don’t have a ride, we’ll help you arrange one.
Why are there so many people on my surgery team?
In addition to the surgeon, you have an anesthesiologist, nurses—some of them specialize in working with patients and others assist the surgeon—and support staff, who get you checked in and out, compile your records, and more. They all work together, performing their individual jobs, so the procedure is as successful as possible.
Why am I asked for my name and date of birth every time I get medicine?
It’s a safety precaution to make sure you’re receiving the medication that’s prescribed for you.
What do I need to bring to the hospital the day of my polypectomy?
Anything you’ll need for an overnight stay, including a change of underwear, a sweatshirt, glasses or contacts, headphones, and your medications. You probably will not be there overnight, but it’s a good idea to be prepared.
How long does it take the anesthesia to wear off after my polypectomy?
It takes about an hour for general anesthesia to wear off, but you may notice the effects for a day or so. It usually takes 30 minutes to an hour for local anesthesia to wear off, though the effects can last a few hours.
What will happen during a polypectomy?
You’ll lie on your side with your knees drawn up towards your chest as the procedure is done through your anus. You will feel relaxed and drowsy, due to conscious sedation, or become unconscious, due to general anesthesia.
When will my family be informed about how I’m doing?
Our associates will get information from the surgical team in the operating room during your surgery and keep them updated.
How long will the polypectomy take?
A polypectomy typically lasts from 30 to 60 minutes.
How long will I be under?
A polypectomy is often done with conscious sedation. You are given a pain reliever and a sedative intravenously, so the polypectomy will not hurt. But you will not be unconscious unless your physician decides to use general anesthesia.
How long will I be in the hospital after a polypectomy?
While the length of a hospital stay depends on each patient’s individual needs, patients are typically discharged within a few hours following the procedure.
What are the side effects of local anesthesia?
Some temporary side effects of local anesthesia can include nausea, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, twitching muscles, numbness, and tingling.
What can I expect right after my polypectomy?
After the procedure, you will be moved to a recovery room where you will stay until you’re ready for discharge. The amount of time you are in recovery depends on whether or not you were sedated and what type of pain medication you receive.
How will I know if the polypectomy worked?
Your surgeon will discuss your procedure with you, and you will likely receive the results of any biopsies in a few days.
When will I get to talk to my surgeon after my polypectomy?
You’ll be able to talk to your surgeon immediately after your procedure, while you’re in the recovery room.
How soon after a polypectomy will I be up and moving around?
You will be up and moving around almost immediately after the procedure, but patients are encouraged to avoid alcohol, driving, and operating machinery for 24 hours after a polypectomy.
Will I receive pain medication right after surgery?
In most cases, patients receive pain medication immediately following surgery.
How soon after my polypectomy can I eat or drink?
Unless otherwise instructed, you may immediately return to your normal diet.
Will I need to fill any prescriptions or take medication after a polypectomy?
Your doctor may prescribe medications to ease cramping, gas pains, or other discomfort associated with the procedure.
Recovery and Follow-Up
What will I need to do to prepare for my recovery from a polypectomy?
Make sure you have groceries for when you arrive home from the polypectomy. If you live alone, you may want to arrange for a friend or family member to check in with you.
How should I prepare for my at-home recovery?
You may want to ask a friend or a relative to check on you and assist with everyday tasks for the first 24 hours following your procedure.
If I need physical therapy or rehabilitation after a polypectomy, how is that arranged?
Physical therapy and rehabilitation are not typically needed after a polypectomy. Our associates will help you arrange the postoperative care you’ll need.
Will I need any follow-up appointments or procedures?
Follow-up polypectomies and colonoscopies will depend on the results of the first one. If you have no polyps and low risk, you might be able to wait 10 years before having another one. Also, you usually will be sent a formal report by mail or electronic medical record to you and your primary care provider.
Will there be any scarring or stitches to remove?
There will not likely be any scarring or stitches to remove after your polypectomy.
What do I need to have to care for any wounds or incisions?
Following your polypectomy, you might notice slight rectal bleeding for one or two days after the procedure. If you have a large amount of rectal bleeding, high or persistent fevers, or severe abdominal pain within the next two weeks, go to your local emergency room and call the doctor who performed your exam.
What should I do if I have an emergency or accident after a polypectomy?
If you have an emergency following your procedure, call your surgeon’s office. If you’re in need of immediate emergency services, go to the nearest emergency room.
When will I be able to get back to work after my polypectomy?
If you have a desk job, you can probably return 24 hours following your procedure. If your job requires more physical movement, it could take longer.
Affordable Labs and Imaging at Gateway Hancock Health
Need preoperative blood tests or an MRI? Check out Gateway Hancock Health, where labs and imaging prices are 70% lower than you’d pay at a hospital. An MRI that might cost as much as $1,600 is just $599 at Gateway.Learn More
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