What are juvenile polyps?

Updated: Jun 06, 2020
  • Author: Jaime Shalkow, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Cameron K Tebbi, MD  more...
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Juvenile polyps are mucosal tumors that consist of excessive lamina propria and dilated cystic glands. They usually occur between 2 and 10 years of age and constitute 80% of all polyps in children, with a slight male predominance (3:2). [8]

Juvenile polyps typically present as painless rectal bleeding after defecation. A small percentage debut with prolapse. Prolapsed polyps appear as dark, beefy-red, pedunculated masses, in contrast to the lighter pink mucosal appearance of rectal prolapse. Most prolapsed polyps are erythematous and friable. Abdominal pain is uncommon and is primarily associated with intussusception. [9]

Colonoscopy is the procedure of choice for evaluation of juvenile polyps because those identified in the distal GI tract can be removed at the same time.

Juvenile polyps are solitary in half of patients. The majority are located proximal to the rectosigmoid junction. However, those distally located tend to cause more symptoms. Removal for histologic confirmation is indicated. The typical isolated juvenile polyp with no adenomatous changes has no potential for malignancy and tends not to recur.

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