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Dis Colon Rectum. 2008 Mar;51(3):292-5. doi: 10.1007/s10350-007-9175-2. Epub 2008 Jan 18.

Management of the difficult colon polyp referred for resection: resect or rescope?

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University of Texas Houston, Health Science Center, Colon and Rectal Surgery, Houston, Texas 77090, USA.

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  • Dis Colon Rectum. 2008 Aug;51(8):1300.



Patients are frequently referred for resection of difficult colon polyps. Before colectomy the experienced surgeon has the option of repeating the colonoscopy to assess the polyp, tattoo the site, and potentially remove the polyp. The purpose of this study was to review our results with this approach.


All new patients referred during a five-year period to an 11-physician colon and rectal surgical group with the diagnosis of colon polyp (CPT 211.3) that was not previously removed were retrospectively reviewed. Patients with rectal polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, previous cancer, or familial adenomatous polyposis were excluded. Patient demographics, details of the polyps, success of polypectomy, reasons for surgical resection, pathology, and complications were analyzed.


The study population consisted of 252 patients with a mean age of 65 years. Eighty patients underwent resection upon referral without a repeat colonoscopy. Upon resection, invasive cancers were found in 13 cases. A total of 172 patients underwent at least one repeat colonoscopy by the colorectal surgeon. Of this group, 101 patients had successful polypectomy, thus avoiding major colectomy. The remaining 71 patients had a subsequent colon resection after at least one repeat colonoscopy. In 26 cases the polyp site was tattooed for later localization. There were nine postpolypectomy hemorrhages treated nonoperatively and two perforations.


Repeat colonoscopy by an experienced surgeon leads to complete removal and avoidance of major colectomy in 58 percent of these cases. Patients with large difficult polyps referred for resection should be considered for repeat colonoscopy before surgery.

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