National Cancer Institute
Health Services & Economics Branch
Cancer Control and Population Sciences

National Surveys of Colorectal Cancer Screening Policies & Practices:

Colorectal Surveillance After Polypectomy

Objective: To survey practicing gastroenterologists and general surgeons about their perceived need for the frequency of surveillance after polypectomy, to compare survey responses to practice guidelines, and to identify factors influencing their recommendations for surveillance.

Results: Response rates were 83%. Among gastroenterologists (317 of 349) and surgeons (125 of 316) who perform screening colonoscopy, 24% (95% CI, 19.3% to 28.7%) of gastroenterologists and 54% (CI, 44.9% to 62.5%) of surgeons recommend surveillance for a hyperplastic polyp. For a small adenoma, most physicians recommended surveillance colonoscopy and more than 50% recommended examinations every 3 years or more often. Physicians indicated that published evidence was very influential in their practice (83% [CI, 78.8% to 87.2%] of gastroenterologists and 78% [CI, 72.5% to 86.8%] of surgeons). By contrast, only half of respondents reported that guidelines were very influential.

Conclusions: Some surveillance colonoscopy seems to be inappropriately performed and in excess of guidelines, particularly for hyperplastic polyps and low-risk lesions such as a small adenoma. These results suggest unnecessary demand for endoscopic resources.

Reference: Mysliwiec PA, Brown ML, Klabunde CN, Ransohoff DF. Are physicians doing too much colonoscopy? A national survey of colorectal surveillance after polypectomy. Ann Intern Med 2004;141(4):264-71. [View Abstract]

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Last modified:
30 Apr 2008
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