Many Physicians Recommend More Repeat Colonoscopies Than Required, Study Finds
Patients who have low-risk polyps removed after a colonoscopy do not require as many repeat colonoscopies as some physicians recommend, according to a study published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Reuters/Arizona Daily Star reports (Reuters/Arizona Daily Star, 8/17). In the study, researchers at the National Cancer Institute surveyed more than 600 gastroenterologists and general surgeons (Corbett Dooren, Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal, 8/18). According to the study, 24% of gastroenterologists and 54% of general surgeons surveyed said that they recommend repeat colonoscopies every three to five years after the removal of hyperplastic polyps.
Medical guidelines recommend that individuals ages 50 and older receive colonoscopies every 10 years but do not recommend repeat colonoscopies after the removal of hyperplastic polyps, benign growths not likely to develop into cancer (Reuters/Arizona Daily Star, 8/17). The editors of the medical journal said that the results of the study indicate "overuse" of repeat colonoscopies, which "threatens to overwhelm the money and resources available for health care maintenance." Colonoscopies cost about $1,600 each (Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal, 8/18). An abstract of the study is available online.