How To Prepare
You do not need to do anything before
you have this test. If you are taking or have recently taken
antibiotics, tell your doctor.
your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its
risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you
understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
To collect a tissue or fluid sample from
a wound, a sterile swab is inserted into the wound. The health professional
collecting the sample may press around the wound and gently turn the swab to
collect as much tissue or fluid as possible. The swab is then placed into
either an aerobic or anaerobic culture tube or both, depending on the type of
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 1 to 2 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.