St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Mycobacterial culture

    Culture - mycobacterial

    Mycobacterial culture is a test to look for the bacteria that cause tuberculosis and similar infections.

    See also: Sputum stain for mycobacteria

    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.

    A biopsy or aspiration may also be done.

    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

    The preparation depends on how the test is done.

    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 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.


    • Liver culture


      • Liver culture


      A Closer Look

        Self Care

          Tests for Mycobacterial culture

          Review Date: 12/6/2011

          Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. 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. 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.

          A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

          Back  |  Top
          About Us
          Contact Us
          Locations & Directions
          Quality Reports
          Annual Reports
          Honors & Awards
          Community Health Needs

          Brain & Spine
          Sleep Medicine
          Urgent Care
          Women's Services
          All Services
          Patients & Visitors
          Locations & Directions
          Find a Physician
          Tour St. Luke's
          Patient & Visitor Information
          Contact Us
          Payment Options
          Financial Assistance
          Send a Card
          Mammogram Appointments
          Health Tools
          My Personal Health
          Spirit of Women
          Health Information & Tools
          Clinical Trials
          Health Risk Assessments
          Employer Programs -
          Passport to Wellness

          Classes & Events
          Classes & Events
          Spirit of Women
          Donate & Volunteer
          Giving Opportunities
          Physicians & Employees
          For Physicians
          Remote Access
          Medical Residency Information
          Pharmacy Residency Information
          Physician CPOE Training
          St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
          Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile