Custom Search

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Polyp Removal Techniques The last post on this blog discussed some of the commonly encountered types of polyps. One of the goals of colonoscopy is to detect potentially pre-cancerous polyp-the distinct advantage of colonoscopy(versus imaging studies such as lower gi x-rays, or so called "virtual" colonoscopy is the ability to not only detect polyps, but to remove them at the same time. There are several techniques that are used by gastroenterologists. The choice of technique may depend on the size and shape of the polyp, as well as the experience, training, and comfort-level of the physician performing the procedure with the various techniques. I will try not to bore you technical details of each approach, but rather, I hope to give you a general idea of each so that if you or a loved one has a polyp removed you can have an idea of what exactly that meant. FORCEPS POLYPECTOMY Forceps are basically like a tiny set of tweezers. They are on the tip of a long wire-type device that we slide down the biopsy channel of the scope, and they emerge from an opening in the tip of the scope while it is in the colon. The assistant can open the forceps, then the physician positions the forceps over the polyp, then the assistanrt closes the forceps, thus grasping the polyp. The physician then basically just pluckes the polyp off the wall of the colon. Forceps can be "cold" or "hot". In the case of a cold forceps, there is no electric cautery involved, whereas in a hot forceps polypectomy, monopolar cautery is used. The advantage of cautery is that it can prevent bleeding, and can help destroy any redsidual polyp tissue on the colon wall that was not grasped with the forceps. The disadvantage is that sometimes the polyp tissue is destroyed by the cautery and difficult for the pathologist