May 1986

Colonoscopy After Curative Resection of Colorectal Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Louisville.

Arch Surg. 1986;121(5):535-540. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1986.01400050045006

• Colonoscopy is generally considered to be an important part of the follow-up program for patients who have undergone curative resection of colorectal cancer. However, there are few data available concerning the frequency with which colonoscopy should be performed and for what length of time after operation. Since 1978, our policy has been to examine the colon annually in these patients using colonoscopy alternating with barium enema. We have evaluated the results in 100 patients over a four-year period. Based on size and histology, the significant colonoscopic findings were new colon cancers in three patients and 11 polyps demonstrating increased risk for malignancy in nine patients. This represents an interval yield of 3% per year. From these results and other reports, we recommend that these patients undergo total colonoscopy in the perioperative period to identify and remove synchronous lesions of the colon, and that examination of the remaining colon should be performed annually, preferably with colonoscopy, for at least the first four years after curative resection.

(Arch Surg 1986;121:535-540)