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Polyp Removal and Biopsy

A polyp is a deformity of the gastrointestinal tract lining which protrudes into the interior or lumen and appears to be abnormal tissue is termed a polyp. The term “polyp” is a general descriptive term that is applied to both those with the potential to become malignant or cancerous and to those which do not.

The benign growths from which most cancers adenocarcinoma or adenomas develop in the digestive tract. In the large intestine these typically develop as polyps (that is they are abnormal tissue protruding from the lining). The purpose of identifying those individuals who may be forming colorectal adenomas is to both remove these benign, but potentially malignant lesions, and to develop a plan for future surveillance.

The most common intervention during GI Endoscopy is biopsy. During your time spent at The Iowa Clinic Endoscopy Center you might be asking yourself what is a biopsy? The professional team at this West Des Moines office will answer your questions and go through the procedure with you. The endoscopy biopsy is the collection of a small sample of tissue from the lining (mucosa) of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine or large intestine. These samples are taken with a small pincer-like forceps, thus making the endoscopic biopsy a non-painful procedure. Any area where there is suspicion of abnormality or disease may require an endoscopy with biopsy. These biopsies are usually submitted to a pathologist for examination with a microscope, but they may also be taken for microbiologic (bacterial, viral, fungal) testing. Biopsies are not taken only to look for cancer, but more common that the biopsies are taken for evaluation of inflammation or other benign (non-cancerous) abnormalities.

What is a polypectomy? The physician will try to identify and remove any polyps which are suspicious for adenoma. A polypectomy is the surgical removal of a polyp. Most of these are diminutive (smaller than 5 mm, a little less than ¼ inch), and these can often be removed without the need for cautery. Polyps are typically found as colon polyps, in the stomach, nose, sinus, urinary bladder, and uterus. For small (5 to 10 mm) or large (greater than 10 mm) polyps, the risk of bleeding usually requires cauterization. To remove and cauterize a polyp, the physician uses a wire snare (a wire loop that can be tightly closed on the polyp) and a specialized electric current is passed to heat and seal the blood vessels of the tissue.

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