Managing difficult polyps: techniques and pitfalls

Authors Shareef Tholoor, Orestis Tsagkournis, Peter Basford, Pradeep Bhandari.


There is no standardized definition of difficult polyps. However, polyps become difficult and challenging to remove endoscopically when they are large in size, flat in nature, situated in a high-risk location and when access to them is very awkward. Recently, an SMSA (Size, Morphology, Site, Access) classification has been proposed that helps to qualify the degree of difficulty by scoring on the above parameters. This article reviews the features that make polyps difficult to remove and provides some practical tips in managing these difficult polyps. We believe that ‘difficult polyp' is a relative term and each endoscopist should define their own level of difficulty and what they would be able to handle safely. However, in expert trained hands, most difficult polyps can be safely removed by an endoscopic approach.

Keywords Colonic polyp, polypectomy, complications, colonoscopy, EMR

Invited Reviews