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Gastrointest Endosc. 1999 Feb;49(2):177-83.

Influence of endoscopic biopsy forceps characteristics on tissue specimens: results of a prospective randomized study.

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  • 1Departments of Medicine and Pathology, Baylor College of Medicine, The Methodist Hospital and VA Medical Center, Houston, Texas, USA.



A large variety of endoscopic biopsy forceps are commercially available. However, little is known regarding the influence of forceps characteristics such as disposability, size, shape, and presence of a needle on the adequacy of the specimens for histologic diagnosis. Our aim was to analyze in a prospective, randomized, pathologist-blinded study the performance of different biopsy forceps.


Twelve biopsy forceps were tested, 6 each at upper endoscopy and colonoscopy. Two biopsy specimens were obtained with each forceps, for a total of 12 specimens per patient. The tissue samples were examined for the following parameters: weight (mg), size (mm3), depth, crush artifact, sheering effect, and adequacy of the specimens for histologic information (0 = inadequate, 1 = suboptimal, and 2 = adequate).


Fifty-five patients undergoing routine upper or lower gastrointestinal endoscopy were included in the study, and a total of 624 tissue samples were available for analysis. Overall, disposable forceps provided specimens of greater size and depth. At upper endoscopy, alligator-shaped forceps improved the depth of the sample as did the absence of a needle within the cup. These factors, however, had no impact on the specimens obtained at colonoscopy. When the adequacy of the specimens was assessed for histologic diagnosis, no significant difference was noted between any of the individual forceps, although collectively oval-shaped forceps were superior to alligator-shaped forceps at colonoscopy.


The biopsy forceps currently available in the market are equally efficient in providing histologic diagnosis. The primary consideration when selecting an endoscopic biopsy forceps, therefore, should be the cost and ease of use and not any perceived advantage in performance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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