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A pedunculated polyp is a skin growth that attaches to the body via an elongated stalk. This type of growth is most commonly found in the colon or uterus, but it can also occur elsewhere in the body. Pedunculated polyps contrast with sessile polyps, which are skin growths that lack the stem or stalk that qualifies a polyp as pedunculated. Most polyps are harmless, but some can become cancerous over time so they are usually removed once they are found.
Many types of abnormal growths can occur in the human body, some of which are harmful and some that are not. A pedunculated polyp is usually not harmful, but can cause problems if it grows in an area where it causes irritation through contact with sensitive organs or tissues. Over time, an ignored or unidentified polyp may become cancerous, causing even more serious problems for the body.
Benign polyps are those that are not cancerous, while malignant polyps are cancerous. Medical professionals are unable to determine whether any polyp is benign or malignant on sight. For this reason, they are generally removed soon after they are found in order to test the tissue for cancer. If cancer is found, further tests and treatment may be advised.
Any part of the body containing mucous membranes is a potential site of growth for a pedunculated polyp. This includes the nose, bladder, and even the vocal cords. The problems associated with the growth vary depending on the location in which it occurs. For example, a polyp on the vocal cord can cause speech difficulties including hoarse voice and pain while speaking.
A pedunculated polyp in the colon usually causes no symptoms, although a particularly large one can cause rectal bleeding or a change in bowel habits. Most colon polyps are located during a routine examination, and once identified, they are usually removed due to the risk that they could develop into colon cancer. The risk is usually small, but healthcare professionals almost always recommend removal to eliminate even the slightest risk of cancer.
Uterine polyps can cause irregular menstrual bleeding, but they often cause no symptoms at all. Sometimes, one can be large enough to protrude into the vagina. If the polyp becomes problematic, a medical professional may prescribe hormone treatment before recommending an invasive removal procedure. When removal is recommended, the polyp is usually excised from the uterus while the patient is under general anesthesia.