Status evaluation: hot biopsy forceps. American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Technology Assessment Committee

Gastrointest Endosc. 1992 Nov-Dec;38(6):753-6.


Monopolar hot biopsy forceps were developed for simultaneous tissue biopsy and electrocoagulation. Many endoscopists used these forceps for coagulation of diminutive polyps of the colon. The rationale for diminutive polyp eradication is to destroy neoplastic tissue and possibly prevent colon cancer. However, convincing data to document a reduction in the incidence of colorectal cancer or even complete obliteration of all treated diminutive polyps with hot biopsy forceps are lacking. Complications of hot biopsy include hemorrhage, perforation, and post-coagulation syndrome. Tissue injury is deeper with monopolar hot biopsy forceps than bipolar forceps. The right colon is particularly susceptible to transmural injury and perforation. For small polyp obliteration, comparative studies of hot biopsy (monopolar and bipolar) with other techniques such as cold biopsy combined with thermal probes, large cup cold biopsy removal, and snare electrocoagulation are warranted. The necessity to biopsy typical appearing angiomata does not seem warranted on a routine clinical basis. The expected obliteration rates of small angiomata or rates of controlling lower gastrointestinal bleeding from colon angiomata after monopolar hot biopsy electrocoagulation have not been well documented. Heater probe or bipolar electrocoagulation have been safely and effectively applied to bleeding colon angiomata. These newer coagulation probes are recommended as an alternative to hot biopsy forceps for treatment of bleeding colonic angiomata.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy / instrumentation*
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis*
  • Colonic Polyps / surgery*
  • Electrocoagulation*
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal*
  • Humans