Most polyps are found and removed during sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy screening, using biopsy forceps or a wire loop called a snare. If the polyp is larger than 0.75 inches, a liquid may be injected under it to help with its removal, explains Mayo Clinic.
Some polyps are too big to be removed using these procedures and require removal with minimally invasive surgery. In rare genetic conditions, such as FAP, the treatment is the removal of the rectum and colon, according to Mayo Clinic.
Polyps have different shapes and cancer risks. Adenomatous polyps can develop into colon cancer, especially if they are larger than 0.4 inches. Hyperplastic polyps, however, have no risk of turning into cancer. Sessile polyps such as adenomatous polyps can also turn into cancer, explains WebMD.
After their removal, polyps are examined by a pathologist under a microscope. This is done to determine the type of polyp a patient has and whether or not it is malignant, explains Mayo Clinic.
The frequency of follow-up screening depends on the pathology report, the size of the polyp or polyps, and their quantity. If only one or two small adenomatous polyps are found on colonoscopy, the recommendations are to have another one in five years. If more than two adenomas are found, or if an adenoma is larger than 0.4 inches, recommendations are to have another screening in three years, explains Mayo Clinic.
A finding of more than 10 adenomas requires another screening within three years. For patients found to have a very large adenoma, or one that was removed in pieces, a follow-up screening is recommended within six months, according to Mayo Clinic.