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. 2001 Jun;53(7):747-50.
doi: 10.1067/mge.2001.114055.

Reusable Biopsy Forceps: A Prospective Evaluation of Cleaning, Function, Adequacy of Tissue Specimen, and Durability


Reusable Biopsy Forceps: A Prospective Evaluation of Cleaning, Function, Adequacy of Tissue Specimen, and Durability

R A Kozarek et al. Gastrointest Endosc. .


Background: Recent studies have indicated that reusable biopsy forceps remain contaminated after reprocessing and can only be used a mean of 12 to 25 times without malfunction. Because this contradicts traditional endoscopic practice, our study investigated the ability to sterilize a type of commercially available biopsy forceps and prospectively evaluated their function in vivo until malfunction and/or breakage.

Methods: Thirty reusable biopsy forceps were studied, 15 of which were contaminated for 5 trials each with 10(6) Bacillus stearothermophilus, and 15 of which were prospectively evaluated clinically over an 18-month period (9/98-3/00). Contaminated forceps were reprocessed by using a standard protocol and placed in a sterile bag containing soy broth. The latter was passed through a 0.2 micron filter and was subsequently cultured. In vivo data included biopsy site, size, adequacy, problems obtaining a biopsy specimen, and reasons for ultimate forceps failure.

Results: After contamination, all biopsy forceps yielded a heavy growth of B stearothermophilus. No forceps, including 5 that were piecemeal dismantled with a wire cutter, had residual bacteria after reprocessing. In the in vivo study, 1507 biopsy sessions were undertaken in 1339 procedures. Forceps were categorized as new or like-new in 1259 of 1339 (94%) procedures, some loss of function but usable in 72 of 1339 (5.4%), and inadequate function or broken at use in 8 of 1339 (0.6%). Histologically, 1501 specimen sets were adequate (99.6%) and mean specimen size was 2.7 +/- 0.1 mm. Mechanical problems were noted in only 38 of 1507 (3%) sessions to include such things as sticky forceps, and the mean number of uses to malfunction or breakage was 91 +/- 15 (SEM) (range 19-132).

Conclusions: This reusable biopsy forceps can be sterilized and used a mean of 91 times with adequate tissue sampling. Mechanical problems were minor to time of breakage. Contingent on acquisition and reprocessing costs as well as the number of procedures performed, this reusable forceps has the potential for significant cost savings.

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