Background: Serrated polyps are an inhomogeneous group of lesions that harbour precursors of colorectal cancer. Current research has been directed at further defining the histopathological characteristics of these lesions, but definitive treatment recommendations are unclear. The aim was to review the current literature regarding classification, molecular genetics and natural history of these lesions in order to propose a treatment algorithm for surgeons to consider. Methods: The PubMed database was searched using the following search terms: serrated polyp, serrated adenoma, hyperplastic polyp, hyperplastic polyposis, adenoma, endoscopy, surgery, guidelines. Papers published between 1980 and 2010 were selected. Results: Sixty papers met the selection criteria. Most authors agree that recommendations regarding endoscopic or surgical management should be based on the polyp's neoplastic potential. Polyps greater than 5 mm should be biopsied to determine their histology so that intervention can be directed accurately. Narrow-band imaging or chromoendoscopy may facilitate the detection and assessment of extent of lesions. Complete endoscopic removal of sessile serrated adenomas in the left or right colon is recommended. Follow-up colonoscopy is recommended in 2-6 months if endoscopic removal is incomplete. If the lesion cannot be entirely removed endoscopically, segmental colectomy is strongly recommended owing to the malignant potential of these polyps. Left-sided lesions are more likely to be pedunculated, making them more amenable to successful endoscopic removal. Conclusion: Even though the neoplastic potential of certain subtypes of serrated polyp is heavily supported, further studies are needed to make definitive endoscopic and surgical recommendations.
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