Pólipos del Colon y el Recto

Los pólipos son crecimientos anormales de tejido que surgen del capa interior o mucosa del intestino grueso (colon) y sobresalen al canal intestinal (luz). Algunos pólipos son planos, otros tienen un tallo.

Los pólipos son uno de los problemas más comunes que afectan al colon y al recto, y se presentan en el 15 a 20% de la población adulta. Aunque la mayoría de los pólipos son benignos, se ha logrado establecer la relación de ciertos pólipos con el cáncer.

¿CUÁLES SON LOS SINTOMAS DE LOS PÓLIPOS?

La mayoría de los pólipos no presentan síntomas y, con frecuencia, se encuentran de manera casual durante una endoscopia o radiografía del intestino. Otros, sin embargo, pueden causar hemorragias, secreción de moco, alteración de las funciones del intestino o, en casos poco comunes, dolor abdominal.

¿CÓMO SE DIAGNOSTICAN LOS PÓLIPOS?

Los pólipos se diagnostican mediante observación directa del revestimiento interior  del colon. Hay tres tipos de endoscopia colorrectal: (1) sigmoidoscopia rígida, (2) sigmoidoscopia flexible y (3) colonoscopia. La sigmoidoscopia rígida permite el examen de las seis a ocho pulgadas inferiores del intestino grueso. En la sigmoidoscopia flexible, se examina la cuarta a tercera parte inferior del colon. Ni la sigmoidoscopia rígida ni la flexible requieren medicamentos y pueden realizarse en el consultorio del médico.

La colonoscopia usa un instrumento flexible más largo y normalmente permite la inspección de todo el colon. Es necesaria la preparación del intestino, y con frecuencia se usa sedación.

El colon también puede examinarse indirectamente mediante la técnica de radiografía con enema de bario. Este examen emplea una solución de bario para cubrir el revestimiento del colon. Se toman las radiografías, y frecuentemente se encuentran pólipos insospechados.

Aunque la revisión de heces para detectar restos microscópicos de sangre es una prueba importante para los trastornos del colon y el recto, un resultado negativo de la prueba NO descarta la presencia de pólipos. Si se descubre un pólipo, es necesario hacer una inspección completa del colon ya que al menos en el 30% de estos pacientes se descubrirán más pólipos.

¿ES NECESARIO TRATAR LOS PÓLIPOS?

Debido a que no hay una manera infalible de predecir si un pólipo se volverá o no maligno, se aconseja extirparlos en su totalidad. La gran mayoría de los pólipos puede extraerse cortandolo con un lazo de alambre electrometalico que pasa a través del instrumento. Los pólipos pequeños se pueden destruir sencillamente tocándolos con una corriente eléctrica que los coagula.

La mayoría de los exámenes de colon que usan el colonoscopio flexible, incluida la extracción de pólipos, puede realizarse de manera ambulatoria con un mínimo de molestias. Los pólipos grandes pueden requerir más de un tratamiento para una extracción total. Algunos pólipos no pueden extirparse con instrumentos debido a su tamaño y ubicación; en esos casos, se requiere cirugía.

¿PUEDEN VOLVER A APARECER LOS PÓLIPOS?

Una vez que se extirpa totalmente un pólipo, es muy poco probable que vuelva a aparecer; aunque no desaparecen los factores que lo causaron. Al menos el 30% de las personas que han tenido pólipos vuelven a tenerlos. Un médico con experiencia en el tratamiento de enfermedades de colon y recto debe efectuar exámenes periódicos a estos pacientes.

AVISO LEGAL

La Asociación Americana de Cirujanos de Colon y Recto está dedicada a asegurar la atención al paciente de alta calidad, al avance de la ciencia, la prevención y el tratamiento de los trastornos y enfermedades del colon, recto y ano.  El propósito de estos folletos es proporcionar información sobre los procesos de enfermedades, y no la de indicar una forma específica de tratamiento. Están diseñados para el uso de  los médicos, trabajadores sanitarios y pacientes que deseen información sobre la gestión de las condiciones tratadas. Estos folletos no incluyen o excluyen otros métodos apropiados de atención médica de estas enfermedades. La última palabra sobre el tratamiento a seguir le corresponde al médico basándose en las circunstancias  de cada paciente.



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