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Polyp Surveillance

Useful management information

NHMRC Clinical Practice Guidelines (2019) recommended screening colonoscopy schedules for polyp surveillance
Colonoscopic surveillance after polypectomy, Cancer Council Guidelines, Cancer Council Australia 

  • No sooner than 5 years – If < 5 polyps (excluding diminutive rectosigmoid hyperplastic polyps) provided that all polyps not ‘advanced’ lesions (<10mm in size and no advanced histopathology - no high-grade dysplasia or villous change.
  • 3 yearly – If > 5 polyps (excluding diminutive rectosigmoid hyperplastic polyps) OR if one or more polyps are ‘advanced’ (≥10mm and/or histopathology (presence of high-grade dysplasia or villous change)
  • Annual – If 5 to 9 polyps (excluding diminutive rectosigmoid hyperplastic polyps) IF ANY ADVANCED CHANGES
  • <12 months – If required, a baseline colonoscopy may need to be repeated in cases of poor bowel preparation (immediate rescheduling), possible incomplete excision of a large polyp (often at 3 months) or the presence of multiple adenomas (≥10) to ensure complete clearance 

NB: The risk benefit of surveillance should be considered, taking into account, the age and comorbid health of the patient. patients over the age of 75yrs should have the risk benefits discussed. Surveillance is generally not recommended over 80yrs.
NB: patients with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) and Lynch syndrome (HNPCC) need punctual surveillance due to the high-risk nature of these conditions.
NB: If a patient who has been fully investigated 2 years prior to referral.  Then the referrer and the receiving clinician will need to exercise clinical decision making in triaging and or value in repeat endoscopy / colonoscopy procedures
Clinical resources

Minimum referral criteria Does your patient meet the minimum criteria?

Does your patient meet the minimum referral criteria?

Category 1
(appointment within 30 calendar days)

If you feel your patient meets Category 1 criteria, please mark "urgent" on your referral

  • See Useful management information section for guideline information 
Category 2
(appointment within 90 calendar days)
  • See Useful management information section for guideline information 
Category 3
(appointment within 365 calendar days)
  • See Useful management information section for guideline information 

If your patient does not meet the minimum referral criteria

  • Find assessment and management information at Brisbane South HealthPathways
  • Consider other treatment pathways or an alternative diagnosis
  • If the patient does not meet the criteria for referral but the referring practitioner believes the patient requires specialist review, a clinical override may be requested:
    • Please explain why (e.g. warning signs or symptoms, clinical modifiers, uncertain about diagnosis, etc.)
  • Please note that your referral may not be accepted or may be redirected to another service

Standard referral information (To be included in all referrals)

Reason for request

  • To establish a diagnosis
  • For treatment or intervention
  • For advice and management
  • For specialist to take over management
  • Reassurance for GP/second opinion
  • For a specified test/investigation the GP can't order, or the patient can't afford or access
  • Reassurance for the patient/family
  • For other reason (e.g. rapidly accelerating disease progression)
  • Clinical judgement indicates a referral for specialist review is necessary

Relevant clinical information about the condition

  • Presenting symptoms (evolution and duration)
  • Physical findings
  • Details of previous treatment (including systemic and topical medications prescribed) including the course and outcome of the treatment
  • All conservative options that have been pursued unsuccessfully prior to referral
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Details of any associated medical conditions which may affect the condition or its treatment (e.g. diabetes, BMI), noting these must be stable and controlled prior to referral
  • Any special care requirements where relevant (e.g tracheostomy in place, oxygen required)
  • Current medications and dosages
  • Drug allergies
  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs use
  • A comprehensive capture of information in relation to MSH Referral Criteria

Clinical modifiers

  • The presence of clinical modifiers may impact the categorisation of the patient.
  • Impact on employment
  • Impact on education
  • Impact on home
  • Impact on activities of daily living functioning – low/medium/high
  • Impact on ability to care for others
  • Impact on personal frailty or safety
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Patient's Demographic Details

  • Full name (including aliases)
  • Date and country of birth
  • Residential and postal address including whether patient resides at an aged care facility
  • Telephone contact number/s – home, mobile and alternative
  • Medicare number (where eligible)
  • Name of the parent or caregiver (if appropriate)
  • Name of delegate and contact details (Department of Corrective Services)
  • Preferred language and interpreter requirements
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Any special needs, access requirements and/or disability relevant to the referral

Referring Practitioner Details

  • Full name
  • Full address
  • Contact details – telephone, fax, email
  • Provider number
  • Date of referral
  • Signature
  • Nominated general practitioner’s details (if known), if the nominated general practitioner is different from the referring practitioner

Other relevant information

  • Willingness to have surgery (where surgery is a likely intervention)
  • Choice to be treated as a public or private patient
  • Compensable status (e.g. DVA, Work Cover, Motor Vehicle Insurance, etc.)


Essential Information for Polyp surveillance referrals (Referral will be returned without this)

  • Relatives diagnosed with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) (if applicable)
  • Relatives diagnosed with Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer or Lynch Syndrome (HNPCC) (if applicable)
  • Family or personal history of colorectal cancer
  • Previous endoscopic procedures (date, report and histology)

If a specific test result is unable to be obtained due to access, financial, religious, cultural or consent reasons a Clinical Override may be requested. This reason must be clearly articulated in the body of the referral.

Additional referral information for Polyp surveillance referrals

  • No addtional information


Assessment and management information can be found on a range of conditions at Brisbane South HealthPathways
If any of the following are present or suspected, please refer the patient to the emergency department (via ambulance if necessary) or seek emergent medical advice if in a remote region.

  • Potentially life threatening symptoms suggestive of:
    •  acute upper GI tract bleeding
    •  acute severe lower GI tract bleeding
    •  oesophageal foreign bodies/food bolus
    •  Acute Severe Colitis*
    •  bowel obstruction
    •  abdominal sepsis
  • Severe vomiting and/or diarrhoea with dehydration
  • Acute/fulminant liver failure (to be referred to a centre with dedicated hepatology services
  • Biliary sepsis (to be referred to a centre with ERCP service)

* Acute severe colitis as defined by the Truelove and Witts criteria – all patients with ≥ 6 bloody bowel motions per 24 hours plus at least one of the following:

  • temperature at presentation of > 37.8°C,
  • pulse rate at presentation of > 90 bpm,
  • haemoglobin at presentation of < 105 gm/l, CRP >30mg/dl at presentation (or ESR > 30 mm/hr)

Out of catchment

Metro South Health is responsible for providing public health services to the people who reside within its boundaries. Special consideration is made for patients requiring tertiary care or services that are not provided by their local Hospital and Health Service.  If your patient lives outside the Metro South Health area and you wish to refer them to one of our services, inclusion of information regarding their particular medical and social factors will assist with the triaging of your referral.

Last updated 19 December 2023
Last reviewed 15 September 2022