FORCEPS (Lat. a pair of tongs or pincers), the name given by surgeons to an instru ment of great antiquity, used as a substitute for the fingers, and consisting of two levers of metal jointed together crosswise, nearer to one end than the other. The hand grasping the longer ends of the levers or handles, closes the shorter ends, which are shaped so as to seize firmly the intended object. There is scarcely a surgical operation in which it is not applied;" and it is made of various forms, to suit different cases. In addition to the forms used in dentistry (q.v.), there is, e.g., the dissecting forceps, which has roughened points. to lay hold of small portions of tissue which are to be divided by the knife; the litliotomy 'forceps, again, has blades concave like spoons; aud fenes trated forceps have apertures in the blades, and as the soft tissues project into these, a firm hold is obtained with less risk of tearing the parts. By means of Liston's cutting
forceps, a powerful hand can divide a great thickness of bone. But the most im•por taut of all is the midwifery forceps, an invaluable invention, in cases of difficult delivery, which daily rescues from suffering and danger numerous mothers and infants. It was gradually brought to its present perfection; but the name of Cliamberlen, an accoucheur of the time of James II., is associated with it, as one of its chief improvers. It consists of two concave fenestrated blades, forming a cavity into which the head of the child fits. The blades are applied separately, one to each side of the head, and then locked. together. Holding by the handles, the accoucheur aids the natural efforts of labor. The instrument does not necessarily or generally injure either mother or child.