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Mycobacterial culture

Definition

Mycobacterial culture is a test to look for tuberculosis or a related organism in the body. It can be done on tissue taken from the bone marrow, liver, or lungs.

See also:

Alternative Names

Culture - mycobacterial

How the test is performed

A sample of body fluid or tissue is needed. A biopsy or aspiration will be done, depending on the suspected site of infection.

The sample is placed in a special laboratory dish (culture media) and watched to see if tuberculosis or similar bacteria grow.

How to prepare for the test

The preparation depends on the suspected site of infection.

For details, see:

How the test will feel

How the test will feel depends on the specific procedure.

For details, see:

Why the test is performed

Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of tuberculosis or a related infection.

Normal Values

If there is no disease present, there will be no growth of bacteria in the culture medium.

What abnormal results mean

Mycobacterium tuberculosis or similar bacteria is present in the culture.

What the risks are

Risks depend on the specific biopsy or aspiration being performed. There are no risks associated with the culture itself.

References

Iseman MD. Tuberculosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 345.


Review Date: 12/1/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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