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Home > Health Topics > Digestive + Colon > Conditions > Non-cancerous Colon Polyps
Colon polyps are mushroom-shaped abnormal growths that can form on the lining of the large intestine. If you’ve been diagnosed with polyps, you should know it is one of the most common colon/rectal conditions affecting roughly 30% of middle aged or elderly adults.92 Most polyps don’t produce symptoms, although some can cause bleeding, discharge, changes in bowel function, and possibly abdominal pain. It’s important to have them removed, however, because of the risk of cancer. Removing the polyps may reduce that risk significantly.
Small polyps can be destroyed by touching them with an electrical current. Some larger polyps can be removed using a technique called wire loop endoscopy. In this procedure, a wire loop and other tiny tools are passed into the colon through a long tube called a colonoscope. These procedures are quick and painless. In some cases, large polyps may require colon surgery.
If your doctor is recommending more extensive colon surgery than the polyp removal procedure above, try to learn as much as you can about the procedure. With years of research and advances in technology, there are now different options for how the procedures are performed. Along with the traditional “open” procedure (which requires a large incision), there is a minimally invasive approach (with small incisions) that is equally effective. Minimally invasive colon surgery typically results in a shorter hospital stay26, 28 and faster recovery with less use of prescription pain medication28 and smaller scars.
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