What are Cup Forceps?

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  • Written By: A. Rohlandt
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 14 March 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Cup forceps, also known as cup biopsy forceps, are slender, flexible surgical instruments used to grasp, manipulate or extract tissue by introduction through a rigid or flexible endoscope. All cup forceps resemble a pair of tongs or scissors and have movable cup-shaped jaws that are used to obtain tissue samples for biopsies. Cup forceps come in various sizes, and the shape of the jaws fall into three categories: oval, spherical and elongated. Cup forceps are made either from stainless steel, which can be used more than once, or from plastic, which can be discarded after use.

There are a few different types of forceps; the most well known of these are cup forceps and alligator forceps. The main difference between the two types of forceps is that cup forceps have two opposing cups at the end of the shaft, whereas alligator forceps have two long, flat opposing projections that are used to grasp tissue. Cup forceps can also have one movable jaw or two, but both kinds of forceps can fulfill the same function. Forceps, including the cup variety, can also be left or right, depending on which direction the end of the forceps bend.


Cup forceps come in various sizes and lengths. The lengths can vary from 26 inches (about 65cm) to 47 inches (about 120cm), and the cup sizes vary from 0.0000518 cubic inches (about 0.85 cubic millimeters) to 0.000289 cubic inches (about 4.75 cubic millimeters). The shape of the jaw determines the size: oval cups typically are the smallest, followed by spherical cups and elongated cups. The small size of the cups enables the surgeon to perform precision tasks or to use the instrument in very small spaces.

Other types of forceps are also used in the medical profession. These forceps can be broken down into the following groups: uterine, dental, Kelly, hemostatic, and locking forceps. Uterine forceps are specially designed to grasp and clamp tissue within the uterus, while dental forceps are used to grasp a tooth below the gum line in order to extract it. Kelly forceps are also known as mosquito forceps and are used to grasp small objects or to hold objects so the hands are left free. Hemostatic forceps, also known as clamps, are clamped onto blood vessels during surgery to control bleeding. Locking forceps are used to hold onto and grasp tissue in tight areas, allowing surgeons to work in places where the fingers cannot be used.



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