Tissue forceps are forceps which have been designed to grip tissue. The ends of the forceps are equipped with small teeth which act to grasp the tissue under consideration, allowing people to manipulate it as needed.
In dissections, tissue forceps can be used to tease apart tissue to create a clearer view of the area under examination. They are also used when it is necessary to strip tissue away, or to lift tissue from an area of interest. Using forceps is more delicate than using some other types of tools, minimizing the risk of damage to the specimen. This can be critical when samples are under evaluation to find the cause for a medical problem, as hasty dissection can destroy material which may be important.
Botanists regularly use tissue forceps in plant anatomy studies and to manipulate tissue under the microscope. Zoologists and pathologists who handle human remains use tissue forceps in the same way, handling specimens with these forceps and using them to assist with dissection. Several styles are available, from very delicate versions which minimize damage to larger, heavier styles which can be used to quickly strip away tissue.
In veterinary and human surgeries, tissue forceps are used to manipulate tissue in a variety of ways, from holding tissue out of the way to clear a surgical site to handling specimens removed for analysis by a pathologist. Forceps used in surgery must be sterilized in an autoclave so that they are safe for the patient, and they are included in the log of instruments and other surgical tools such as drapes and sponges maintained during the surgery so that instruments can be counted out at the end to confirm that nothing has been left inside the patient.
In medical treatment, tissue forceps are sometimes used to manipulate tissue. For example, when a patient presents at an emergency room with a jagged cut, forceps might be used as the cut is cleaned, dressed, and sewn; the forceps can do everything from gently peeling tissue away to check the inside of the wound to aligning the tissue so that the stitches will be even and straight, minimizing abnormal healing which could impede the patient's range of motion.