Comparing the resource implications of old and new colorectal adenoma surveillance guidelines in Australia

Intern Med J. 2024 Feb;54(2):250-257. doi: 10.1111/imj.16149. Epub 2023 Jun 21.


Background: The latest update to the Australian adenoma surveillance guideline in 2018 introduced a novel risk stratification system with updated surveillance recommendations. The resource implications of adopting this new system are unclear.

Aims: To quanitfy the resource demands of adopting new over old adenoma surveillance guidelines.

Methods: We studied data from 2443 patients undergoing colonoscopies, in which a clinically significant lesion was identified in their latest, or previous procedure(s) across five Australian hospitals. We excluded procedures with inflammatory bowel disease, new or prior history of colorectal cancer or resection, inadequate bowel preparation and incomplete procedures. Old and new Australian surveillance intervals were calculated according to the number, size and histological characteristics of lesions identified. We used these data to compare the rate of procedures according to each guideline.

Results: Based on the procedures for 766 patients, the new surveillance guidelines significantly increased the number of procedures allocated an interval of 1 year (relative risk (RR): 1.57, P = 0.009) and 10 years (RR: 3.83, P < 0.00001) and reduced those allocated to half a year (RR: 0.08, P = 0.00219), 3 years (RR: 0.51, P < 0.00001) and 5 years (RR: 0.59, P < 0.00001). Overall, this reduced the relative number of surveillance procedures by 21% over 10 years (25.92 vs 32.78 procedures/100 patient-years), which increased to 22% after excluding patients 75 or older at the time of surveillance (19.9 vs 25.65 procedures/100 patient-years).

Conclusion: The adoption of the latest Australian adenoma surveillance guidelines can reduce demand for surveillance colonoscopy by more than a fifth (21-22%) over 10 years.

Keywords: bowel cancer prevention; colonoscopy; economic modelling; health resources; polyp surveillance; surveillance guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma* / diagnosis
  • Adenoma* / epidemiology
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Colonic Polyps*
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Risk