A normal initial colonoscopy after age 50 does not predict a polyp-free status for life

Am J Gastroenterol. 1994 Aug;89(8):1156-9.


Objectives: The prevalence of colon polyps increases with age in the general population. It is unknown whether a lack of adenomatous polyps determined at one time point after the age of 50 is predictive of a subsequent low risk of polyp development.

Methods: Twenty-nine patients between ages 50 and 70 who had no prior history of polyps and had a normal colonoscopy at least 5 yr previously were recruited for follow-up colonoscopy to evaluate the incidence of neoplastic disease in this presumably low-risk group.

Results: The incidence of adenomatous polyps after a mean of 5.74 yr was 41.4% (95% confidence interval: 23.5-61.1%). A total of 20 adenomatous polyps were found in 12 patients. Seven polyps were 5 mm or more in size.

Conclusions: We conclude that in patients with no history of colonic neoplasia who are 50 yr old, or older, the finding of a normal colonoscopy does not predict diminished risk of neoplasia.

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyps / diagnosis
  • Adenomatous Polyps / epidemiology*
  • Adenomatous Polyps / prevention & control
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis
  • Colonic Polyps / epidemiology*
  • Colonic Polyps / prevention & control
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors