A rectal culture test is performed by inserting a cotton swab in the rectum. The swab is rotated gently, and withdrawn. A smear of the swab is placed in culture media to encourage the growth of microorganisms. The test is performed to isolate and identify organisms in the rectum that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms and/or disease.
Review Date: 4/26/2012 Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.