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Colonoscopic Polypectomy


Colonoscopic polypectomy is surgery to remove colorectal polyps. Colorectal polyps are small lumps of tissue in the lining of the colon (large intestine) and rectum. Caregivers use a scope and small tools to remove the polyps. A scope is a thin, flexible tube with a light and tiny camera on the end.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


  • A colonoscopic polypectomy may cause you to have a slow heartbeat, decreased blood pressure, or increased sweating. You may have pain or bleeding as the scope is passed inside your colon and after your surgery. You may have bleeding or a burn on the wall of your colon from the removal of your polyps. Your colon may be perforated (torn) due to the increased pressure from the scope or from the instruments used. This may cause bowel contents to leak out of the colon and into your abdomen. If this happens, you will need to stay in the hospital and have surgery on your colon.
  • Without this surgery, your signs and symptoms may continue and worsen. Colorectal polyps that are not removed may develop into cancer and cause more serious problems.


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pre-op care: You may be given medicine right before your procedure or surgery. This medicine may make you feel relaxed and sleepy. You are taken on a stretcher to the room where your procedure or surgery will be done, and then you are moved to a table or bed.
  • Monitoring:
    • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.
    • Pulse oximeter: A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine. Never turn the pulse oximeter or alarm off. An alarm will sound if your oxygen level is low or cannot be read.

During your surgery:

  • You are taken to the room where the procedure will be done. You are given medicine to help you relax. You are positioned on your left side and one or both knees are raised toward your chest. Your caregiver will examine your anus and use a finger to perform a digital rectal exam to check your rectum. He will also feel for your prostate if you are a man. If your bowel is not totally empty, your caregiver may give you another enema.
  • During your surgery, the colonoscope is lubricated and gently placed into your anus. It is then passed through the rectum and into the colon. Water or air is put into the colon to help clean or expand it so caregivers can better see your colon. Your caregiver may inject fluid under the polyp or use dye to mark it and make it easier to remove. He will pass a snare (wire loop) through the colonoscope and use it to hold the polyp. The polyp is then burned or cut off the wall of the colon. The polyps that are removed are sent to a lab for tests. Your caregiver may take pictures of the inside of your colon during the surgery. When the surgery is finished, the scope is slowly removed.

After your surgery:

You may pass some air that is left in your colon. You may see blood in your bowel movement (BM) from the removal of your polyps. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be allowed to change clothes and go home. You will need someone to drive you home. Do not drive home alone. If your caregiver wants you to stay in the hospital, you will be taken back to your hospital room.

  • Monitoring: Caregivers will check your temperature and other vital signs to make sure that you are okay. Caregivers may also check for your pulses on your arms or wrists. This helps caregivers learn if you have problems with blood flow after your procedure.
  • Drinking liquids: Men 19 years old and older should drink about three Liters of liquid each day (about 13 eight-ounce cups). Women 19 years old and older should drink about two Liters of liquid each day (about 9 eight-ounce cups). Follow your caregiver's advice if you must change the amount of liquid you drink. For most people, healthy liquids to drink are water, juices, and milk. If you are used to drinking liquids that contain caffeine, such as coffee, these can also be counted in your daily liquid amount. Try to drink enough liquid each day, and not just when you feel thirsty.
  • Medicines: You may need any of the following:
    • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.
      • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.
      • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.
    • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting.
    • Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Blood thinners may be given before, during, and after a surgery or procedure. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
    • Stool softeners: This medicine makes it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to treat or prevent constipation.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.