Polypectomy refers to the removal of polyps during endoscopy. This can take place during upper endoscopy (where the endoscope enters through the mouth, also called an EGD), colonoscopy (where the endoscope enters through the anus) or during double-balloon enteroscopy.
A polyp is a small growth of tissue in the lining of the GI tract. Many polyps are benign (not harmful), but often the doctor will remove them if there is any concern that they might become cancerous.
Your child’s doctor can remove a polyp by encircling it with a wire and using a gentle electrical current to remove the tissue that is jutting out. The tissue that is removed is recovered through the endoscope, whenever possible, so that it can be examined under the microscope to make sure that there are no features of cancer.
Polypectomy can be done during any endoscopic procedure if your doctor encounters an intestinal polyp. Sometimes, if the polyp is especially large or in a difficult location, it may require a second procedure to safely remove it. Removing a polyp is important to make sure that there is no evidence of cancer and to limit bleeding and in some cases, abdominal pain.
In most cases, children do not need to be admitted unless there is more than slight to moderate bleeding. However, because tissue is being cut, there is an increased risk of bleeding with each polypectomy. If a child has numerous polyps that need to be removed, they may have a more significant risk (greater than 1%) of bleeding immediately after the procedure.
In most cases, bleeding can just be observed, but occasionally, your doctor will need to perform a second procedure. Very rarely, a blood transfusion or surgery is required.
Children undergoing endoscopy with polypectomy generally recover the same as those who had an endoscopy without polypectomy. While polypectomy slightly increases the time needed for the procedure, it does not cause any additional pain or discomfort for your child.