Mycobacterial culture of liver biopsy

Alternative names
Culture - mycobacterial of liver biopsy

Mycobacterial culture of liver biopsy is a test for the presence of Tuberculosis or similar infection in the liver.

How the test is performed
A sample of tissue for culture is obtained by liver biopsy. The sample is placed in appropriate media in the laboratory and observed for growth of mycobacteria. Sometimes special stains, such as AFB (acid fast bacilli), are applied to the culture to help with the diagnosis.

How to prepare for the test
Your food and fluid will be restricted for 4 to 8 hours before the test. You must sign an informed consent form giving permission for the liver biopsy. Blood tests for prothrombin time (PT) and platelet count are usually obtained before the procedure.

Infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child’s age, previous experiences, and level of trust. For general information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:

How the test will feel
Local anesthetic is injected into the skin over the area to be biopsied. A needle is inserted through the skin between the lower ribs into the liver and tissue is withdrawn. After the biopsy, a small pillow or sand bag is placed over the biopsy site for several hours to prevent bleeding.

Why the test is performed
The test is performed when an infection of the liver is suspected.

Normal Values
No growth is normal.

What abnormal results mean
Abnormal results indicate an infection of the liver from Tuberculosis or similar bacteria.

What the risks are
There is a risk of bleeding, infection, and Pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

Special considerations
Not applicable.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Brenda A. Kuper, M.D.

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