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Tips on handling big polyps that you are not going to remove

Knowing your limits is a very important part of doctoring. As Mark Twain said, “Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.” Tackling big polyps with the scope is no exception to this rule. Although techniques for removing large polyps have evolved over the years, and maneuvers that were once deemed “high-risk” are now being taught fairly routinely to junior GI fellows, there is still an individual comfort level that practitioners should identify in themselves and respect.

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Gastroenterologists are tattoo artists of the colon

It is common practice to leave a permanent tattoo at the site of significant pathology ( such as a large polyp or tumor) inside the GI tract. We typically use a substance called SPOT, which consists of microscopic carbon particles in a suspension. When injected into tissue it becomes a permanent mark that can be seen from the inside of the organ with the scope, and from the outside of the organ by a surgeon.

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Flat “polyp” resection (part one)

This lesion exhibits the “mucus cap” sign. There is a thick layer of mucus adherent to the polyp that remains attached even after washing with the water jet on the scope. The mucus cap sign is often seen with a particular type of polyp called a serrated polyp. These are often located in the right side of the colon, and are thought to be easier to miss on colonoscopy due to the flat nature of their growth. Unfortunately, they can still transform into colon cancer.

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