Prevalence of missed adenomas in patients with inadequate bowel preparation on screening colonoscopy

Gastrointest Endosc. 2012 Jun;75(6):1197-203. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2012.01.005. Epub 2012 Feb 28.


Background: The prevalence of missed polyps in patients with inadequate bowel preparation on screening colonoscopy is unknown.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of missed adenomas in average-risk patients presenting for screening colonoscopy who are found to have inadequate bowel preparation.

Design: Retrospective chart review. Endoscopy and pathology reports were examined to determine the characteristics of polyps. Data from repeat colonoscopies were collected through 2010.

Setting: Outpatient endoscopy center at an academic medical center.

Patients: This study involved patients who underwent outpatient average-risk screening colonoscopy between 2004 and 2009 documented to have inadequate bowel preparation and who had colonoscopy to the cecum.

Main outcome measurements: Initial adenoma detection rate and adenoma detection rate on follow-up examination.

Results: Inadequate bowel preparation was reported on 373 patients, with an initial adenoma detection rate of 25.7%. Of 133 patients who underwent repeat colonoscopy, 33.8% had at least 1 adenoma detected, and 18.0% had high-risk states detected (≥ 3 adenomas, 1 adenoma ≥ 1 cm, or any adenoma with villous features or high-grade dysplasia). Per-adenoma miss rate was 47.9%. Among patients with at least 1 adenoma on repeat colonoscopy, 31.1% had no polyps on initial colonoscopy; mean time between colonoscopies was 340 days. Among patients with high-risk states, 25.0% had no polyps seen on initial colonoscopy; mean time between colonoscopies was 271 days.

Limitations: Retrospective design.

Conclusion: Adenomas and high-risk lesions were frequently detected on repeat colonoscopy in patients with inadequate bowel preparation on initial screening colonoscopy, suggesting that these lesions were likely missed on initial colonoscopy.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Cathartics / administration & dosage
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis*
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology
  • Colonoscopy / standards*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Early Detection of Cancer / standards
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data*
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Therapeutic Irrigation / standards
  • Time Factors


  • Cathartics