Prospective randomized comparison of cold snare polypectomy and conventional polypectomy for small colorectal polyps

Digestion. 2011;84(1):78-81. doi: 10.1159/000323959. Epub 2011 Apr 14.


Background and aim: The ideal method to remove small colorectal polyps is unknown. We compared removal by colon snare transection without electrocautery (cold snare polypectomy) with conventional electrocautery snare polypectomy (hot polypectomy) in terms of procedure duration, difficulty in retrieving polyps, bleeding, and post-polypectomy symptoms.

Methods: Patients with colorectal polyps up to 8 mm in diameter were randomized to polypectomy by cold snare technique (cold group) or conventional polypectomy (conventional group). The principal outcome measures were abdominal symptoms within 2 weeks after polypectomy. Secondary outcome measures were the rates of retrieval of colorectal polyps and bleeding.

Results: Eighty patients were randomized: cold group, n = 40 (101 polyps) and conventional group, n = 40 (104 polyps). The patients' demographic characteristics and the number and size of polyps removed were similar between the two techniques. Procedure time was significantly shorter with cold polypectomy vs. conventional polypectomy (18 vs. 25 min, p < 0.0001). Complete polyp retrieval rates were identical [96% (97/101) vs. 96% (100/104)]. No bleeding requiring hemostasis occurred in either group. Abdominal symptoms shortly after polypectomy were more common with conventional polypectomy (i.e. 20%; 8/40) than with cold polypectomy (i.e. 2.5%; 1/40; p = 0.029).

Conclusion: Cold polypectomy was superior to conventional polypectomy in terms of procedure time and post-polypectomy abdominal symptoms. The two methods were otherwise essentially identical in terms of bleeding risk and complete polyp retrieval. Cold polypectomy is therefore the preferred method for removal of small colorectal polyps.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colonic Polyps / surgery*
  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Electrocoagulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Proctoscopy / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome