How It Is Done continued...
A needle may be used to collect fluid from a
wound that is covered (scabbed-over) or from an abscess. The fluid is then
placed in the culture tube.
Your doctor may need to remove a
sample of skin or tissue (biopsy) for testing. If collecting the
sample is likely to cause pain, you may be given a shot to numb the area (local anesthetic) first.
Once a sample is
collected, it is placed in a container with a substance (called growth medium
or culture medium) that helps bacteria, fungus, or viruses grow.
- Bacteria usually need about one to two days to grow.
- Fungi usually need several days to grow.
- Viruses need to be placed in a container with living cells and can take weeks to grow.
bacteria, fungi, or viruses that grow will be identified with a microscope, chemical
tests, or both. If sensitivity testing is done to help make decisions about
treatment, more time will be needed.
How It Feels
If you have a sample of fluid or tissue
collected from a wound, you may feel some pain when the sample is collected.
You may feel a short, sharp sting if you are given a shot of anesthetic to numb
the area where the culture sample will be taken.
There is a very slight risk of spreading some
infections if a biopsy is needed to collect the sample.
A skin or wound culture is a test to find
and identify germs (such as bacteria, a
fungus, or a virus) that may be growing on the skin or
in a wound.
Some types of bacteria, fungi, and viruses grow
quickly in culture, and some grow slowly. Test results may take from one day to
several weeks, depending on the type of infection suspected.
Skin and wound cultures
No large numbers of harmful germs are found
on the skin or in the wound. Normal culture results are negative.
Harmful germs are found on the skin or in
the wound. Abnormal culture results are positive.
If test results are positive,
sensitivity testing may be done help make decisions
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- Taking antibiotics or just finished taking
- Getting bacteria that is normally found on the skin in the
tissue or wound sample.