Hyperplastic polyp of the colon

by Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
April 14, 2022

What is a hyperplastic polyp?

A hyperplastic polyp is a non-cancerous growth that can be found anywhere in the colon or rectum. It starts from glands on the inside surface of the colon and rectum. It is called a polyp because it usually sticks out from the surface of the tissue.

Where are hyperplastic polyps normally found in the colon?

Hyperplastic polyps are very common and are most likely to be found in the descending colon (the part of the colon on the left side of your body) or rectum during an examination called a colonoscopy.

Can a hyperplastic polyp turn into cancer?

No. Hyperplastic polyps in the colon and rectum are benign (non-cancerous) growths that will not turn into cancer over time.

How is the diagnosis of hyperplastic polyp made?

The diagnosis of a hyperplastic polyp is usually made after the polyp is removed during a medical procedure called a colonoscopy. The polyp may be removed in one piece or in multiple pieces. The tissue sample is then sent to a pathologist for examination.

What does a hyperplastic polyp look like under the microscope?

When examined under the microscope, a hyperplastic polyp is made up of glands that are larger and have more epithelial cells than normal glands in the colon. When viewed on their short axis, some of the glands appear to be star-shaped.

hyperplastic polyp
Hyperplastic polyp in the rectum.

Will a hyperplastic polyp regrow after being removed?

Hyperplastic polyps do not grow back once they are removed completely. However, it is very common for new hyperplastic polyps to develop. Although hyperplastic polyps usually pose no risk to your health, they can look very similar to other kinds of colonic polyps, some of which are associated with cancer. For that reason, all polyps, including hyperplastic polyps, should be removed and sent to a pathologist for examination under the microscope.

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