Forty-four asymptomatic patients with adenomatous colorectal polyps were followed by repeated colonoscopies and subsequent removal of new polyps. The median follow-up time was 34 months (range, 4 to 131 months). Twenty-six patients (59 percent) developed new adenomatous polyps. The recurrence rate was 69 percent in patients with multiple polyps compared with 54 percent in patients with a single polyp. The location of new polyps was in the same colonic segment in 81 percent of the patients, but not at the same site in the colon where a previous polyp had been removed. The histopathology and size of new polyps compared with the initial polyps showed a significant improvement in histopathology toward more benign polyps (P less than 0.02) and smaller polyps (P less than 0.001). In patients who initially had single adenomatous polyps, new polyp(s) were diagnosed after a mean time of 23 months compared with 13.5 months in patients with two or more adenomatous polyps initially. Patients with atypia in initial polyp(s) developed new polyp(s) after a mean time of 11 months compared with 23 months in patients without atypia. The mean time from a colon with no polyps to the diagnosis of a new adenomatous polyp less than 5 mm in size was 11.5 months, which was a statistically significant shorter time than the 19.4 months observed for the development of polyps 5 mm or larger.