Mercy Hospital & Health Services Contact Us
MyChart
About Mercy
Join Our Team
set font size large set font size medium set font size small
email this page print this page
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia Banner
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia

Disclaimer:
Our Health Information Database is provided by A.D.A.M. the leading provider of electronic and printed information for professionals and consumers in healthcare and industry. It provides authoritative, reliable content written and reviewed by an editorial board who represent a variety of specialty areas. This board reviews and evaluates all healthcare information to ensure it is accurate, reliable, and can be used with complete confidence. And now you have access to the same authoritative, trusted clinical information relied upon by health professionals around the world.
Gram stain of skin lesion

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.

Viral skin lesions, like herpes simplex, are examined by other tests or a viral culture.

References

View Spanish Version

Encyclopedia Home
Drug Note Home
Health Information Home

Images

Care Points
    Read More

      Review Date: 11/26/2009

      Review By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Daniel Levy, MD, Infectious Disease, Maryland Family Care, Lutherville, MD. 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- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

      www.adam.com
      www.mercyweb.org
      follow us online
      facebook youtube


      Contact us
      Home  |  Sitemap

      Disclaimer & Terms of Use  |  Privacy Statement  |  Notice of Privacy Practices
      Copyright ©2013 Mercy. Last modified 2/16/2011