When a physician suspects that a patient has a finger- or toenail infection caused by a
A typical sample for onychomycosis testing is clippings or fillings, or if the nail is starting to flake and come apart, a collection of flakes and crumbly bits. The patient can usually collect the sample themselves and take it with them to an appointment, as long as they collect it and store it in a clean and hygienic manner (Note that some labs may not accept specimens collected at home for onychomycosis testing, so ask first).
Use a clean pair of nail clippers, scissors, or nail file – preferably something that has not been used by anyone else, or at the least, that has been thoroughly washed. Onychomycosis testing doesn’t require a large specimen, but collect at least a sixteenth of a teaspoon if possible. Place the sample in a clean container – again, it’s important that the container has been thoroughly washed because a dirty container may already contain environmental fungal spores and
In the lab, onychomycosis testing has several stages and may differ from place to place. Generally a quick examination for fungal elements using a microscope gives a rapid preliminary result. Then the sample is planted on culture media and incubated. Some