polyp, in medicine, a benign tumor occurring in areas lined with mucous membrane such as the nose, gastrointestinal tract (especially the colon), and the uterus. Some polyps are pedunculated tumors, i.e., they grow on stems; others, attached by a broad base, are called sessile. Nasal polyps are usually associated with an allergic condition; since they interfere with breathing, it is advisable that they be removed. Uterine and gastrointestinal polyps are likely to cause bleeding, but, more important, they may undergo malignant degeneration and for this reason are also usually removed.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.