Mycobacterial culture

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:

  • Atypical mycobacterial infection
  • Tuberculosis

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:

  • Bone marrow aspiration
  • Liver biopsy
  • Lung biopsy

How the Test Will Feel

How the test will feel depends on the specific procedure.

For details, see:

  • Bone marrow aspiration
  • Liver biopsy
  • Lung biopsy

Why the Test is Performed

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

Normal Results

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.

Risks

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

Alternative Names

Culture - mycobacterial