Doctors may be recommending too many follow-up colonoscopies for patients who have had colon polyps removed, according to recent research.
A survey by researchers at UC Davis found that about 24% of gastroenterologists and 54% of surgeons advised follow-up colonoscopies after removal of small, noncancerous polyps. Most gastroenterologists said they would recommend colonoscopies at least every three years after removing a type of polyp called a small adenoma. Large adenomas are considered precursors to cancer.
The U.S. Multisociety Task Force issued guidelines last year that recommended follow-up colonoscopies every three to five years for small adenomas. Expert panels have not issued any recommendations on follow-up colonoscopies for people who have had small, noncancerous polyps removed.
Performing unnecessary colonoscopies on low-risk patients could translate to reduced access for patients who need to be screened, said study author Pauline Mysliwiec, a gastroenterologist at UC Davis.