To investigate certain types of inflammation, during a colonoscopy, a doctor might pinch off normal-looking mucosa at a number of locations for subsequent microscopic examination. What is the size of each specimen, e.g., dimensions, volume?

For example, one would think that specimen size would be discussed in the ASGE 2013 Guideline for Endoscopic mucosal tissue sampling, but it isn't. Orientation is, number of sites is, but specimen size is not.

My question is about biopsy of normal mucosa, not polyps or other visible abnormalities. A reference for this information would be appreciated as well.

  • Thanks so much @Jan. That is exactly the leg-up I needed. I was able to find in pubmed the paper you had cited, and am now using the papers-citing-this-paper list to find others. So far the 2mm size, as measured by maximum diameter seems to be the right ball park.
    – Mick
    Feb 12, 2020 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


The size of biopsy samples of the mucosa from gastrointestinal tract, including the colon, is ~2 mm.

Biopsy depth of 1.5 mm was chosen from our studies of colon biopsies on fresh surgical tissue and IRB studies, and because forceps cup sizes from 1.8 to 2.4 mm were rarely associated with adverse events. (Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, 2017)

"Jumbo" biopsy samples, which are used, for example, in diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, are usually 3.7-4 mm in size. (Hindawi, 2011)

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