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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1986 Sep;21(7):853-62.

Epidemiology of polyps in the rectum and colon. Recovery and evaluation of unresected polyps 2 years after detection.


In an endoscopic population screening study for colorectal polyps among 200 men and 200 women, 50-59 years of age, 215 polyps less than 5 mm in diameter were left in situ for the present 2-year follow-up examination. The attendance rate was 102 of 106 (96%) for polyp patients and 77 of 90 (86%) in the control group. Of 194 polyps, 143 (74%) in the 102 polyp-bearing individuals were recovered for histological evaluation and 57 polyps were registered as new. Ninety-nine (50%) of the polyps were hyperplastic, 45 (23%) were adenomas, and 45 (23%) were mucosal tags. Both growth and regression of polyps were registered. Regression was commoner in the distal part of the rectum than in the proximal part or distal sigmoid colon. Growth was similar for recovered adenomas and hyperplastic polyps, whereas mucosal tags more often showed diminution in size. No polyp had reached a size of more than 5 mm in 2 years, and no case of severe dysplasia or carcinoma was registered. The estimated total polyp mass more than doubled both for adenomas and hyperplastic polyps. It is concluded that the time interval between initial examination with removal of polyps 5 mm or larger in diameter and the first follow-up examination may safely be set at 2 years.

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