Lab Test

Culture, Ear

Ear Culture, Otitis externa, Otitis media

Test Codes





Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect: An ESwab specimen collected from the external ear canal and placed in liquid Amies transport medium.

NOTE: If a fungal infection is suspected (mold or yeast), Culture, Fungus should be ordered.

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

Maintain specimen in ESwab transport medium at room temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F). Transport to the Laboratory within 8 hours of collection.

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: Swab specimen in ESwab transport medium at room temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F).

Rejection Criteria

Specimens in non-sterile or leaking containers, or specimens that have been delayed in transit (greater than 8 hours) will be tested, with reporting at the discretion of the Microbiology Laboratory System/Associate Director. 


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 8 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): Unacceptable
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): Unacceptable

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:

Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 4 days


Dearborn Microbiology Laboratory
Taylor, Trenton and Wayne sent to Dearborn Microbiology Laboratory for testing.

Royal Oak Microbiology Laboratory
Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, and Troy sent to Royal Oak Microbiology Laboratory for testing.


Sunday – Saturday, 24 hours a day. 
Preliminary results available within 24 hours.
Final negative results available in 4 days.

Reference Range

No organisms recovered.

Test Methodology

Gram stain, aerobic culture and identification, susceptibility testing (if indicated).


The recovery of microorganisms from an appropriate, properly collected specimen may be indicative of an infectious disease process.

Clinical Utility

This test is used to recover and identify aerobic bacteria that may be involved in human infections.


Gilligan, P.H and M.C. Jones, 2016, Otitis Cultures, in Leber, A.L., Editor-in-Chief, Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook, 4th edition, Section 3.11.5.

CPT Codes

87070 (Aerobic Culture), 87205 (Gram Stain).


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