Medical Q&As

Cervical polyp - removal?

I have recently been diagnosed with a cervical polyp and it is suggested that I have it removed. As this is due to take place under a general anaesthetic I would like to ask a number of questions in advance. How long does the procedure take? How long before the 'op.' will I have to come off the pill? How long does it take for the effect of the anaesthetic to wear off? Am I going to feel very ill? I would appreciate any information on this as I left my doctors in a bit of a shock! The polyp was discovered when I went back to repeat a smear which had some abnormal cells.

I donít wish to add to your confusion by stating that it is not always necessary to have a general anaesthetic in order to have a polyp removed. Sometimes they can be removed as an outpatient procedure. Perhaps you are having a general anaesthetic because the doctor proposes to remove the abnormal cells as well as the polyp. Since you left the doctor in a state of shock it would be reasonable to clarify exactly what is due to be done. However, taking your question at face value and accepting that you are due to have a general anaesthetic I will answer your questions in the order that you have asked them. The polyp removal would be of several minutes duration and is a relatively straightforward surgical procedure. It is arguable if you need to stop your pill because the procedure is not unduly invasive and does not require postoperative convalescence. However, if you have been told that you must stop the pill it is normal practice to abstain from taking it four weeks before the operation. In other words you donít take the last pack immediately prior to surgery. With regard to the anaesthetic you will feel a little groggy for a few hours after the surgery but you should be alert and active the next day following a good nightís sleep. Modern anaesthetic drugs tend to be short acting and normally clear from the body very quickly. Some people do experience nausea or even vomiting after an anaesthetic but that is not a universal experience. If it should happen to you there are very effective drugs that can counteract this effect.