Lab Test

Culture, Surgical

Surgical Culture, Sterile, Fluid, Tissue

Test Codes

EPIC: LAB03127




  • This test is for surgically collected tissue and fluid.
  • An aerobic and anaerobic culture is included as part of this test.
  • Do NOT submit swab specimens. Specimens submitted on swabs will be changed to Culture, Wound – Deep.

Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect: One of the following specimens:

  • Tissue: Sterile collection container with 0.5 mL of sterile, non-bacteriostatic saline. Alternatively, tissue may be placed in an ESwab transport device.
  • Fluid: Sterile collection container or sterile sealed syringe (without the needle). Optimal volume is 18-20 mL, but smaller quantities will be accepted. Do NOT submit the syringe with the needle attached

Transport specimens to the Laboratory immediately after collection.

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

Do not refrigerate specimen. Specimens must be stored at room temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F). Courier Services must be contacted for a STAT pickup at 1-800-551-0488.

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: Tissue specimen at room temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F).

Rejection Criteria

  • Specimens submitted in containers with formalin or that have previously contained formalin.
  • Swab specimens are strongly discouraged due to lower sensitivity of organism recovery. Specimens submitted on swabs will be changed to Culture, Wound – Deep.

Inpatient Specimen Preparation

Transport STAT to the Laboratory immediately after collection.

In-Lab Processing

If a surgical culture is ordered on an inappropriate site/source or collection device, the order will be changed to match the appropriate test code.


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 4 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:

Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 1 month

Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 30 days


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


Sunday – Saturday, 24 hours a day.
Preliminary results available within 24 hours.

Reference Range

No organisms recovered.

Test Methodology

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


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

Reflex Testing

Mold obtained from bacterial cultures will be reflexed to the Mycology Laboratory for identification.

Clinical Utility

This test is used to recover and identify microorganisms that may be involved in an infectious process.


  1. Vandamme, P.A.R., 2015. Specimen Collection, Transport, and Processing: Bacteriology. Jorgensen, J.H., Editor-in-Chief. Manual of Clinical Microbiology. 11th edition. ASM Press. Washington, D.C.
  2. Lynne S. Garcia, Editor-in-Chief. Section 2 - Specimen Collection, Transport, and Acceptability, pg. 51-80 and Section 3.13.1 - Wound/Abscess and Soft Tissue Cultures, pg. 440-457. Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook, 3rd Edition. ASM Press. Washington, D.C., 2010.
  3. Hall, G.S. and J. Holden, 2016. Collection and Transport of Clinical Specimens for Anaerobic Culture. Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook. 4th ed. ASM Press. Washington, D.C.

CPT Codes

87070 (Aerobic Culture), 87075 (Anaerobic Culture), 87205 (Gram Stain). Additional charges will be incurred for identification and susceptibility testing.
LOINC:  635-3


Last Updated


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