Culture - mycobacterial
How the test is performed
A sample of body fluid or tissue is needed. This may be taken from the lungs, liver, or bone marrow.
Most often, you will be asked to cough deeply and spit out the material that comes up from your lungs, called sputum.
The sample is placed in a special laboratory dish (culture media) and watched to see if the bacteria that causes TB grows.
How to prepare for the test
How the test will feel
Why the test is performed
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of tuberculosis or a related infection.
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.
Iseman MD. Tuberculosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 345.
Ellner JJ.Tuberculosis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds.Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 332.