When you undergo your colonoscopy, the doctor
performing the procedure (typically a gastroenterologist
) will be looking for any abnormalities; this includes identifying polyps, which are outgrowths from the wall of the intestine. Certain types of polyps have been shown to be pre-cancerous, meaning that they can progress to cancer over a number of years if they are left untreated. Because of this risk, polyps are removed when they are identified.
Usually these are removed with a small snare that is passed through the colonoscope. Rarely, the doctor will not be able to remove a polyp because of a difficult location within the intestine or if it is very broad-based and flat. In this case, your doctor may need to repeat the procedure with different techniques. Once the polyps are removed, they are sent to a pathologist
, where they are reviewed on a microscopic level. The results of the pathology will be given to you by your doctor, and these results will help determine when your repeat colonoscopy should be performed.