A colonic tissue culture is a lab test to check for the cause of disease in a sample of tissue from the large intestine. The cause may be bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
How the Test is Performed
The doctor removes a piece of tissue from your large intestine during a colonoscopy.
- The sample is sent to a laboratory.
- It is placed in a special dish containing a gel on which bacteria and other organisms can grow, and stored at a certain temperature.
- The laboratory team checks the sample daily to see if bacteria, viruses, or fungi have grown.
If certain microorganisms grow, more tests will be done to identify them. This helps determine the best treatment.
How to Prepare for the Test
There is no specific preparation needed for a culture.
How the Test will Feel
Once the sample is taken, the culture does not involve you. Therefore, there is no pain.
Why the Test is Performed
Your health care provider may order this test if you have signs or symptoms of an infection that can affect the large intestine. A culture is often done when other tests such as a stool culture could not identify the cause of infection.
A normal result means that no disease-causing organisms have grown in the laboratory dish.
Some "healthy" bacteria, called bowel flora, are normally found in the gut. The growth of such bacteria during this test does not mean there is an infection.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean
An abnormal result means that disease-causing organisms have grown in the laboratory dish. These organisms may include:
- Clostridium difficile bacteria
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria
- Salmonella bacteria
- Shigella bacteria
These organisms may lead to diarrhea or infections involving the colon.
There are no risks involved in a colonic tissue culture.
Colonic tissue culture
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Update Date 5/15/2014
Updated by: Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Aria Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.