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Diagnosis and management

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The diagnosis and management of colonic polyps consist of:

  • history and examination

Possible investigations:

  • sigmoidoscopy: about half of colonic polyps are within reach of the rigid 25cm instrument. Use of a fibreoptic sigmoidoscope allow the colon to be examined as far as the splenic flexure and any polyps can be removed at the same time with a diathermy snare.

  • colonoscopy allows polyp identification and removal

  • computed tomographic colonography (CTC) is an alternative, less invasive test; if a polyp is identified then will require subsequent colonoscopy to remove and identify histology

  • histology; vital because:
    • reveals whether the whole polyp was removed
    • reveals whether the polyp was malignant

  • barium enemas
    • will show polyps of significant size
    • may not be possible to see the whole colon well - this is particularly true of the transverse colon


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