Biopsy of the pancreas for diagnosis of benign or malignant disease was performed in 527 patients during a ten-year period (1960 to 1970). The incidence of complications in patients who underwent laparotomy and biopsy of the pancreas was 6.2%. The incidence of complications presumed to be due to biopsy in patients who also underwent major pancreatic or biliary tract operations was 4.1%. Diagnosis made by microscopical examination of fresh-frozen sections correlated with subsequent review of permanent sections in all but one of the 527 cases. The results indicate that biopsy of the pancreas by wedge or needle technique and examination of fresh-frozen sections provide a reasonably safe and reliable way of establishing the diagnosis of pancreatic disease.