Treatment with argon plasma coagulation reduces recurrence after piecemeal resection of large sessile colonic polyps: a randomized trial and recommendations

Gastrointest Endosc. 2002 Mar;55(3):371-5. doi: 10.1067/mge.2002.121597.


Background: Recurrence is frequent after piecemeal snare resection of large sessile colorectal polyps. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of argon plasma coagulation (APC) in preventing recurrence when applied to the edge and base of the polypectomy site after apparently complete piecemeal resection.

Methods: Patients with large (>1.5 cm) sessile polyps removed by piecemeal snare cautery were placed into 2 groups. The first consisted of patients with polyps believed by the endoscopist to be completely excised. These patients were randomized to either no further therapy (control) or to APC of the rim and any residual mucosal or submucosal tissue in the base of the polypectomy site. The second group comprised patients in whom polyps, as judged by the endoscopist, were incompletely excised by snare polypectomy; APC was routinely applied without randomization to all visible remaining adenomatous tissue. Follow-up colonoscopy was performed within 3 months and 1 year; biopsy specimens were taken routinely from the resection site and further polypectomy was performed as indicated.

Results: There were fewer recurrences after APC in the randomized group (1/10 APC, 7/11 no APC; p = 0.02). In the group with initial incomplete snare polypectomy, recurrence was detected at 3 months in 6 of 13 despite APC. One patient was hospitalized with abdominal pain and minor rectal bleeding but required no intervention. There were no other episodes of significant late bleeding caused by piecemeal polypectomy. One patient was referred for surgery after unsuccessful endoscopic management.

Conclusions: In patients with apparent complete endoscopic snare resection of large adenomas, postpolypectomy application of APC reduces adenomatous recurrence.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Argon
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology
  • Colonic Polyps / surgery*
  • Colonoscopy
  • Electrocoagulation* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy*
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Argon