Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Intestinal Polyps Treatment?
At Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, our experienced gastroenterologists offer a wide range of treatment options and preventive measures for intestinal polyps. Our team of specialists will provide you with guidance and advice to make the best possible choices for your treatment.
Intestinal polyps are a very common condition consisting of small protuberances, or overgrowths, that develop on the intestinal mucosa. The main reason these polyps appear is that our cells can sometimes grow beyond their natural limits and produce an excess of tissue. Polyps are very likely to go unnoticed, as they do not show any symptoms, and are oftentimes discovered accidentally.
Intestinal polyps affect more than 30 percent of the population. Additionally, they are more common in people over 60, people who are overweight or obese, smokers, and people who have a family history of intestinal polyps. Despite the fact that only a small percentage of intestinal polyps are cancerous, they should always be removed when discovered.
If you have a high risk of developing intestinal polyps due to your family history or other factors it is important that you have regular checkups or colonoscopies to detect intestinal polyps in their early stages. When found early, these protuberances can be removed effectively and without any complications.
Surgical Procedures Performed at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Intestinal Polyps
The best treatment option, when dealing with intestinal polyps is surgical removal. Even when discovered during a routine examination, your doctor might choose to remove them immediately. Generally, intestinal polyps are eliminated by using one of the following endoscopic procedures: a colonoscopy, an esophagogastroduodenoscopy, or, when dealing with large polyps, surgery. The most common procedures for the removal of intestinal polyps are:
- Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR): This is a procedure utilized in the removal of superficial polyps that do not show any signs of complications and is performed endoscopically. There are three different types of endoscopic mucosal resection: injection-assisted, ligation-assisted and cap-assisted.
- Injection-assisted EMR: This procedure is also known as the inject-and-cut technique and consists of injecting a solution into the mucosa beneath the polyp that is being removed in order to create a cushion-like surface that allows a more precise cut and protects the tissue surrounding the polyp.
- Cap-assisted EMR: This procedure is performed by using suction to remove the polyp.
- Ligation-assisted EMR: This procedure is performed utilizing a band ligator, a device that has a lasso-like loop, made of a wire, which cauterizes the tissue surrounding the polyp, removing it.
- Transanal minimally invasive surgery (TAMIS): This minimally invasive procedure is appropriate when dealing with large intestinal polyps and is done laparoscopically. This technique is one of the newest and most effective when dealing with large polyps or precancerous and cancerous polyps.
- Proctocolectomy: This procedure consists of removing the patient’s colon, or rectum, and can, in some cases, be combined with ileostomy and anastomosis, the removal of the ileum and of the anus. These surgeries are recommended when treating familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), also known as inherited intestinal polyps, which is a hereditary condition consisting in the development of hundreds of polyps simultaneously. This condition is very likely to evolve into cancer, thus, making the colon or rectum removal necessary. Additionally, this condition can also affect the pancreas, or duodenum, thus, requiring the removal of these organs as well.
Drugs and Other Treatments Needed for Intestinal Polyps
When treating intestinal polyps, the most effective methods are the surgical removal procedures or polypectomies. However, there are a few non-surgical treatments that can be effective when trying to prevent the development of this condition:
Regular checkups »
There are two types of intestinal polyps judging by their shape: pedunculated polyps and sessile polyps. The pedunculated polyps are attached to the intestinal tissue through a long, thin pedicel, or extension, while the sessile polyps are entirely attached to the intestinal wall and are flatter.
Another type of classification for polyps is by the types of cells that they are made of: neoplastic or non-neoplastic. The polyps that belong to the first category are likely to develop into cancerous masses, while the ones that belong to the second category do not pose this threat.
There is a third classification method regarding intestinal polyps, defining them as follows:
Inflammatory polyps »
Adenomatous polyps »
Tubulovillous polyps »
Hyperplastic polyps »
Symptoms of Intestinal Polyps
Intestinal polyps are generally asymptomatic and are accidentally found during routine endoscopic procedures and screening exams. Some cases, especially when larger polyps are present, might present the following symptoms:
Diagnosis of Intestinal Polyps
There are several techniques a doctor can use to diagnose intestinal polyps, such as:
- Digital examination: This examination can be useful in order to detect colorectal polyps and is generally followed by other investigations meant to confirm the diagnosis.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: This technique facilitates the investigation of the sigmoid colon, and can confirm and detect an average of sixty percent of the polyps.
- Endoscopy: This is the most popular technique used when dealing with intestinal polyps because it not only detects the presence of these protuberances but also removes them.
- CT-colonography: This method is less invasive, as it does not involve the insertion of any instruments into the gastrointestinal tract, thus, becoming a more and more popular option.
- Biopsy: In order to correctly determine the type of polyp detected in the gastrointestinal tract, the doctor might decide to perform a biopsy test on a sample of tissue. This test is also performed when dealing with hereditary disorders.
Risk Factors for Intestinal Polyps
There are certain factors that are thought to increase the risk of developing intestinal polyps, such as:
- Age: Intestinal polyps are more commonly found in people over 50.
- Obesity: Being overweight, or obese, has a negative effect on your health, making you more susceptible to a large number of health problems, including intestinal polyps.
- Other conditions: Certain conditions, especially those that affect the intestinal functions, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can encourage the development of polyps. Another condition that can lead to polyp growth is type 2 diabetes, especially when it isn’t treated properly.
- Hereditary and genetic disorders: Certain hereditary disorders can influence the evolution of intestinal polyps, such as Gardner’s syndrome, which is a rare type of familial adenomatous polyposis, Lynch syndrome, which is a type of colon cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis, MYH-associated polyposis, serrated polyposis, or Peutz-Jaghers syndrome.
- Family history: If members of your family have been diagnosed with intestinal polyps, you are more likely to develop this condition. Having more than one relative suffering from this condition increases your chances of being diagnosed with it as well.
- Personal history: If you have already been diagnosed with intestinal polyps once, it is likely that you might develop them again.
- Race: Studies have shown that people of African-American descent are more susceptible to intestinal polyps.
- Smoking and drinking alcohol: Having these unhealthy habits is extremely harmful to the gastrointestinal tract, as they can influence the development of intestinal polyps.
Causes of Intestinal Polyps
The main cause of intestinal polyps is represented by the overgrowth of cells, which is generally caused by mutations. When these mutations happen in the intestinal tract, they result in the apparition of polyps. Other causes of intestinal polyps are represented by an unhealthy lifestyle, frequent alcohol consumption, eating fatty meat and read meat, and being overweight. Additionally, recent studies found that smoking on a regular basis can double the chances of developing intestinal polyps, as the substances found in cigarettes can trigger an abnormal overgrowth of cells in the intestines, as well as in other organs.
The best way to manage these polyps is by following your doctor’s advice, which will usually result in the surgical removal of the polyps. However, there are certain alternative and natural remedies that are thought to prevent and even cease the growth of intestinal polyps. If you decide to try any of these alternative methods, it is recommended that you ask for your doctor’s opinion beforehand.
Some of the most popular alternative treatments for intestinal polyps are:
- Herbs: Some plants are thought to have beneficial properties, thus, shrinking the polyps and preventing their growth such as garlic, which is a natural antioxidant; green tea, which can inhibit abnormal cell growth; or flax plant, which is known for its anti-carcinogenic properties.
- Foods: Certain foods, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peppers, spinach, arugula, or onions can be beneficial when trying to prevent the development of intestinal polyps.
- Vitamin D: According to a recent study, having a sufficient amount of vitamin D in your system is important when trying to protect your intestines from polyps. Sun exposure, liver, fish, eggs, or supplements are all good sources of vitamin D.
Intestinal polyps can be prevented by integrating certain lifestyle adjustments such as: eating more fruits and vegetables, reducing the consumption of fat, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, maintaining a normal weight, doing physical exercise and getting regular checkups after the age of 50.
Are you suffering from intestinal polyps? For any questions, information or guidance related to intestinal polyps, get in touch with our specialty-trained, skilled gastroenterologists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.