Lower gastrointestinal endoscopy is a commonly undertaken procedure and has assumed even greater prominence with the inception of the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BCSP). Workloads are also constantly increasing within histopathology departments and this has led to a need for workload management by laboratories. Advanced endoscopic techniques now allow for targeted biopsies within settings such as inflammatory bowel disease surveillance and the BCSP. In this article, we provide guidance to the endoscopist for optimal biopsy protocols that are designed to maximise the chance of a subsequent histopathological examination providing definitive results and to reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies, in which histopathology is unlikely to deliver clinically useful information. The majority of the article focuses on biopsy taking within a defined range of clinical situations that are commonly encountered by endoscopists.
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