Colonoscopic polypectomy with cutting current: is it safe?

Gastrointest Endosc. 2000 Jun;51(6):676-81. doi: 10.1067/mge.2000.105203.


Background: Coagulation and blended electrosurgical current are currently recommended for colonoscopic polypectomy, whereas pure cut current is believed to be associated with a higher risk of bleeding. However, the outcome of polypectomy performed with a cut current has not been evaluated in a large case series. Our objective was to study the incidence and nature of complications when polypectomy is performed with a pure cut current.

Methods: Among 9555 colonoscopic examinations, polypectomy cases were retrospectively reviewed for complications. The electrosurgical current applied was always the cutting waveform.

Results: Electrosurgical polypectomy using pure cut current was performed to remove 4735 lesions. Hemoclips were applied to the excision site after polypectomy to prevent bleeding in 12% of the cases. Hemorrhage occurred in 1.1% of the polypectomies (3.1% of patients). The incidence of bleeding with the different methods was snare polypectomy 0.9%, endoscopic mucosal resection 1.6%, "hot" biopsy 0.4%, and piecemeal polypectomy 7.3%. Bleeding was immediate in 66.1% of episodes and delayed in 33.9%. Patients with delayed postpolypectomy bleeding were significantly younger than those with immediate bleeding (50.5 and 64.7 years, respectively, p < 0.001). There was 1 case of transmural burn, but no perforations.

Conclusion: Polypectomy can be performed with pure cut current with a bleeding rate comparable to that seen with the use of coagulation or blended current, provided that hemoclip placement can be used readily. Expertise in hemoclip placement is advisable if this method of polypectomy is to be used.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colonic Polyps / surgery*
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Electrosurgery / adverse effects
  • Electrosurgery / methods*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety