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Viral lesion culture
Viral lesion culture


Definition:

A gram stain of a skin lesion is a laboratory test that uses special stains to detect and identify bacteria in a sample from a skin sore. The gram stain method is one of the most commonly used techniques for the rapid diagnosis of bacterial infections.



Alternative Names:

Skin lesion gram stain



How the test is performed:

Your health care provider will remove a sample of tissue from the skin sore. For information on how this is done, see the article on skin lesion biopsy .

The sample is sent to a laboratory, where it is applied in a very thin layer to a glass slide. A series of different colored stains is applied to the sample. A laboratory team member examines the stained slide under a microscope, checking for bacteria. The color, size, and shape of the cells help identify the infecting organism.



How to prepare for the test:

No preparation is needed for the laboratory test.



How the test will feel:

The laboratory test is painless. For information on what it feels like to have the skin sample removed, see skin lesion biopsy .



Why the test is performed:

Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of an infected skin sore. The test is done to determine which bacteria is causing the infection.



Normal Values:

The test is normal if no bacteria are identified.



What abnormal results mean:

An abnormal result means bacteria have been found in the skin lesion. Further tests are needed to confirm the results.



What the risks are:

There are no risks related to the laboratory test. For information on risks related to the removal of a skin sample, see skin lesion biopsy .



Special considerations:

A skin or mucosal culture may be done along with this test. Other studies are often done on a skin sample to determine if cancer is present.




Review Date: 12/3/2007
Reviewed By: D. Scott Smith, M.D., MSc, DTM&H, Chief of Infectious Disease & Geographic Medicine, Kaiser Redwood City, CA & Adjunct Assistant Professor, Stanford University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. 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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