What is the risk of perforation during a colonoscopy or colon polyp removal?

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During colon polyp removal a perforation is an injury penetrating a deeper than intended layer, usually through the muscle of the colon. There's a spectrum of severity from a superficial burn all the way to a free hole. In more severe situations, this can cause infection or sepsis or peritonitis.

Perforation is probably the most feared complication of colonoscopy and polyp removal. The risk is still pretty rare. Even when taking out large polyps, the risk is maybe 1 to 2 percent.

There is a risk of a perforation, or a hole in the colon, during colonoscopy, and this is approximately 1 in 2,000. The risk increases slightly if the physician feels that a maneuver (such as biopsy or polyp removal) is needed or if there is existing disease (such as colitis, or inflammation of the colon) present.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.