Benign Conditions of the Colon

Colon polyps and rectal prolapse are benign (non-cancerous) conditions occurring in the colon and rectum that may require surgery. Mount Sinai’s colon and rectal surgeons have extensive experience in treating these conditions using minimally invasive techniques that minimize scarring and allow for quicker recovery.

Colon Polyps

colon polyp is a growth on the inner wall of the colon. While polyps may cause blood in the stool or a change in bowel habits, they often do not have symptoms.

Polyps are usually detected and removed through a colonoscopy procedure. It is important to have polyps removed and analyzed in order to determine if cancer is present.

Surgery for Colon Polyps

The procedure to treat polyps involves using a wire that simultaneously removes the polyp and gently burns their base to prevent bleeding. Polyps that are too large or cannot be safely removed through this procedure may be surgically removed, usually through minimally invasive methods. The surgeons at Mount Sinai use advanced endoscopy techniques, which enable you to avoid major surgery even in the case of complex polyps.

Virtually all colon and rectal cancers begin as benign polyps. Detection and removal of these polyps will prevent cancer from forming, so it is of vital importance that everyone, beginning at age 50, has periodic screening via colonoscopy or other similar techniques. Your doctor will recommend which tests are appropriate for you and how often they should be done.

Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse is condition that occurs when the rectum falls completely outside of the body due to lack of internal support. It may be caused by loose muscles in the anal sphincter, an abnormally long colon, constipation, diarrhea, or other factors, and the primary symptom is a reddish mass that protrudes from the anus.

Surgery for Rectal Prolapse

It is sometimes possible to treat rectal prolapse at home by following your doctor’s instructions, but in general, surgery is usually necessary to treat a prolapsed rectum by repairing the weakened pelvic muscles and anal sphincter.

In order to treat rectal prolapse, Mount Sinai surgeons can perform an abdominal procedure (often with laparoscopic techniques) or a rectal procedure where there are no incisions made anywhere outside the body. Your doctor will consider a number of factors, including your overall health and personal preference, in deciding which approach is best.