Many colorectal polyps are removed during a colonoscopy using biopsy forceps or wire to latch on to the polyp for removal, states Mayo Clinic. In some cases, such as when a polyp is larger than 0.75 inch, a liquid is injected beneath the polyp to assist in separating it from the surrounding tissue. This procedure is known as an endoscopic mucosal resection.
Minimally invasive surgery is required in cases where the polyp cannot be safely reached using regular colonoscopy techniques or when the polyp is too large, and complete surgical removal of the colon and rectum is generally reserved for cases where rare inherited syndromes are present, notes Mayo Clinic. Tubular adenomas account for approximately 70 percent of polyps removed, and these polyps, if detected early, are frequently removed via colonoscopy before cancer cells can form, according to the Colon Cancer Alliance.
During a colonoscopy, a doctor examines the length of both the colon and the rectum using a colonoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a light and a video camera attached, states the American Cancer Society. Inserted into the anus, the colonoscope passes through the rectum and into the colon. To biopsy or remove a detected polyp, the doctor inserts special instruments into the colonoscope. Colonoscopies are usually performed as outpatient procedures, and the patient is given a sedative to minimize discomfort.