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Aspirate or Abscess Culture (Aerobic/Anaerobic) (80001014340)
Test Mnemonic:


Specimen Requirements:

Date and time of collection, collector, source of collection, any other important diagnostic information. 

Test Included:

Gram stain, aerobic and anaerobic culture, and susceptibility testing on pathogens, when appropriate. 


Aspirate if possible or if abscess is open, pass a swab (Eswab collection system is preferred) deep into the lesion.

If abscess is closed, aspirate with needle and syringe and submit in sterile leakproof container. 


Sterile leakproof container, Eswab, Vacutainer with no additives. 


Optimally transport sample within 2 hours at room temperature; otherwise, as soon as possible. Do not refrigerate. 


Up to 24 hours for sterile containers at room temperature.

Up to 48 hours for Eswabs at room temperature. 

Causes for Rejection:

Missing patient/collection information, improper container, specimens received outside of stability time.

Reference Range:

No aerobic/anaerobic organisms isolated. 

Turnaround Time:

If no organsims are isolated, culture is finalized at 4 days. If potential pathogens are recovered, turnaround time may vary. 


Gram stain, culture for the isolation of aerobic and anaerobic organisms, and when appropriate, susceptibility testing. 


Clinical Microbiology


Culture, abscess; Culture, deep wound; Culture, aspirate; Aerobic culture

Clinical Indication:

Deep wound/abscess with suspected infection.

Patient Preparation :

Remove surface exudate, or if closed abscess, decontaminate skin overlying abscess. Collect according to specimen collection requirements or appropriate protocol. 

CPT 4 Code:

87205- Gram stain

87070- Culture, aerobic, with isolation and presumptive identification of isolates. 

87075- Culture, anaerobic with isolation and presumptive identification of isolates. 

Additional CPT codes may apply when potential pathogens are recovered. 

  • Tissue or aspirate sample is superior to swab specimen. If swab must be used, Eswab is recommended. 
  • Closed abscess is the specimen site of choice. 
  • Proper decontamination of skin is critical to prevent contamination of colonizing bacteria. 
  • Proper source identification is needed to correctly guide setup and workup of culture. 
When ordering tests for which Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement will be sought, physicians should only order tests that are medically necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of the patient. Components of the organ or disease panels may be ordered individually. The diagnostic information must substantiate all tests ordered and must be in the form of an ICD-10 code or its verbal equivalent.
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