What happens during a polypectomy in Singapore

You’ve undergone a colonoscopy procedure and your doctor finds an abnormal growth that needs to be removed and examined further to detect whether it is cancerous or not. What happens next? Your doctor recommends that you go through polypectomy surgery. The progression from one medical procedure to another can be overwhelming. However, if it means that it would increase the chances of improving your health, it is best that we follow the doctor’s orders. To help ease your worries, this article will help you in preparing for a polypectomy in Singapore.

Polypectomy surgery: What is it?

A polypectomy surgery is a minor medical procedure that is done to remove an abnormal growth, otherwise known as polyp, that is attached to a body cavity or an internal organ in the body. A polyp may either be:

  • Benign
  • Malignant
  • Precancerous

A benign polyp is harmless, while a malignant polyp is one that contains cancer cells. A precancerous polyp may not be harmful during its removal, but it has the potential to evolve into cancer in the long run.

The colon is one of the hollow areas of the body where polyps can build up. While these abnormal tissues collect in the large intestine, they rarely give hints about their presence. It is only when they have grown larger or have mutated into a tumor that is cancerous that one can notice changes in the body, such as:

  • Bleeding in the rectum
  • Constant pain felt in the abdomen
  • Irregularities with bowel movement

How are polyps detected?

Polyps in the colon are detected while undergoing a colonoscopy exam. This medical procedure uses a flexible tube that has a light and a tiny camera in one end that is inserted into the anus and carefully navigated through the large intestine. The tube is connected to a video monitor which projects the image that the tiny camera captures inside the body’s organs.

There are two types of polyps that may be detected in the colon:

  • Pedunctulated polyps
  • Sessile polyps

Pedunctulated polyps are abnormal growths that resemble mushrooms and stick to the top layer of the colon. Sessile polyps, on the other hand, are tissue build-ups that may either be dome-like or flat and bulge from the colon’s surface.

What happens during a polypectomy procedure?

It is common for a colonoscopy and polypectomy procedure to be done at the same time. Using the flexible lighted tube and tiny camera, the polyp is located in the colon and is removed using any of the following methods:

  • Cold or not forceps polypectomy
  • Cold snare polypectomy
  • Hot snare polypectomy

Cold or hot forceps polypectomy is a technique that is used less nowadays due to medical advancements. This procedure uses medical graded forceps to loosen and pull the polyps from the surface of the large intestine. If the stalk of the polyp extends deeper into the tissue, electrocautery will be performed, which requires the use of a device to burn the remaining tissue build up and prevent bleeding.

Cold snare polypectomy or CSP is best for polyps that are not over 5mm in measurement. This procedure uses a cold looped wire (snare) to remove the polyp.

Hot snare polypectomy or HSP is the usual method chosen to remove polyps in the colon. This uses a wire loop (snare) that is heated to snag and pull the polyp loose from being attached to the colon’s surface.

During a polypectomy procedure, an anesthesiologist will be partnering with your gastroenterologist or colon surgeon to administer anesthesia. You will be asked if you have allergies or have had any adverse reactions to anesthesia before. Once you are cleared, the anesthesiologist will administer a dose of anesthesia to help your body be at ease and keep you sedated throughout the procedure. This will ensure that you do not feel any pain or discomfort as the polypectomy is carried out.


As soon as you are sedated, your doctor will proceed with the colonoscopy procedure. You will be asked to lay sideways on the examination table and have your knees pulled up to reach your chest. Your doctor will then insert the colonoscope into your anus. It is normal to feel a minor pressure as this is done, but it should not be painful. The colonoscope is then guided to find the target polyp and remove it using one of the polypectomy techniques. The collected polyps are then forwarded to a laboratory to check for cancer cells.

A polypectomy procedure normally takes not longer than an hour and you can go home once the effects of anesthesia wears off.

What happens after the procedure?

After the procedure, you will be asked to rest and recover. It is highly recommended that you have a companion with you during your polypectomy procedure because you will feel groggy as the effects of the anesthetic will take a while to dissipate.

You may feel some minimal pain in the area where the polyp has been removed. Your doctor can prescribe medication to manage the pain. Aside from pain, the following side effects may also occur:

  • Bleeding heavily
  • Bloating
  • Bowel perforation
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Infection
  • Fainting
  • Fever
  • Vomiting

If you feel any of these symptoms, it is important that you get urgent medical attention.

While recovering, be mindful to avoid these foods and drinks to avoid irritating your gut:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Spicy food
  • Soda
  • Tea

Are there preparations needed prior to a polypectomy?

Preparing for a polypectomy procedure is crucial as there are various factors that can affect the procedure. Your colon should be free from waste that can cause obstruction once the colonoscope is inserted.

To ensure a successful polypectomy, follow your doctor’s instructions strictly. Patients are commonly asked to:

  • Drink a lot of water to keep the body hydrated
  • Stick to a diet that is free from any type of natural or food grade coloring
  • Take your doctor prescribed enema or laxative

The enema or laxative will cause you to have diarrhea. If you are still experiencing diarrhea on the day of your procedure, you may want to consider using an adult diaper to avoid accidents or bring extra clothes with you to the clinic.

Alpine Surgical Practice

3 Mount Elizabeth #17-16

Singapore 228510


+65 6589 8927

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