I am about to prepare a talk that would compare two tests in the medical field. The old test requires 5 different sites of the organ to be sampled in order to have a result. The other test (which is the newly proposed) requires only one and gives more meaningful results. If I were to say this in bullets how can I express this idea in short? The nearest thing came to my mind is:

  • Test A is sample-demanding while test B is not.


  • Test B is five times more tissue-sparing than test A.

I am not sure which one sounds correct, or is there any better way to say it?

I am surprised to find one of the answers disappearing. The answer that disappeared was the correct answer and I cannot accept any other answer unless the same one who disappeared comes back to accept his answer.

2 Answers 2


There is a widely understood term in the medical field: invasive.

The proposed test is less invasive.

Patients prefer the less invasive test, as it is far less painful.

Physicians prefer the new test because of its greater diagnostic power.

Invasive fits well for a tissue or an organ biopsy.

The latter statement is more towards the OP's description of "more meaningful results." (There are ways to say "more meaningful results" to an audience that is familiar with statistics, such as statistical power, or p-values.)

  • 1
    True, invasive is used commonly, but after being in the operative room both tests would be invasive and it won't matter for the subject now whether 5 or 1 tissue samples would be taken.
    – doctorate
    Mar 13, 2014 at 13:45
  • OK, that helps. I was imagining a needle biopsy.
    – rajah9
    Mar 13, 2014 at 13:56
  • +1 for spending quite a time making different nice sentences though.
    – doctorate
    Mar 13, 2014 at 13:58
  • 1
    I understand that for certain organ biopsies that several sites of the organ are sampled. Since your patients are already in the OR, maybe your proposed test is less destructive. And (guessing here) recovery should be faster and pain should be lessened from one biopsy instead of five.
    – rajah9
    Mar 13, 2014 at 14:11

Perhaps Test A requires repeat-sampling while Test B does not. You could also use repetitive sampling, but that seems less like a label and more like a simple description.

If you were looking for idiomatic terms for both, you could refer to Test B as target-sampling (or targeted-sampling) in contrast to Test A, shotgun-sampling.

  • +1, the idea of repeat-sampling does not fit here, simply because all 5 samples should be taken in the same operative session. But, what catched me is the shotgun-sampling, can you please elaborate more? from which domain-knowledge did you bring this nice term?
    – doctorate
    Mar 13, 2014 at 13:41
  • can you please iterate a little bit, i.e., make different sentences using only shotgun-sampling.
    – doctorate
    Mar 13, 2014 at 13:47
  • The phrase is just made up. It tries to evoke the wide, multiple hit image of a shotgun as opposed to a single focused hit with a rifle. A similar phrase could be scattershot sampling, another firearm image that is even more diffuse (and less effective) that a precise process.
    – bib
    Mar 13, 2014 at 14:01
  • Examples might be: We have chosen Test B, which avoids the scattershot sampling of Test A that requires so many more samples but provides less critical information. Or, We favor the precision of Test B over the less effective, more intrusive scattershot sampling of Test A
    – bib
    Mar 13, 2014 at 14:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.