Cytology, Tzanck Smear
New York DOH Approval Status
This test is New York DOH approved.
- Patient Preparation
- Indications: Detection and characterization of inflammatory/infectious processes of the skin, especially herpetic infections.
- Direct smear of material collected from a skin lesion, usually a vesicle.
Supplies: Two (or more) clean glass slides fixative (95% ethyl alcohol), skin scraping spatula, and Cytology test request form.
Collection Procedure: Label the slides with the patient's first and last name, date of birth, and specimen source in pencil on the frosted end and place in a container filled with 95% ethyl alcohol so the slides are completely covered. Gently scrape the area of abnormality. If the abnormality is a vesicle, remove the covering and scrape both at the base of the vesicle and around the rim. Remove one of the slides from the fixative. Quickly and evenly smear the collected material on one of the glass slides. Immediately re-immerse the slide in fixative. Repeat the process with the second slide, if necessary, for better diagnostic yield. Repeat the process for additional areas if necessary. After collection, leave the slides in the 95% alcohol for 10 minutes and then air dry. Submit the specimen and the completed test request form to the Cytopathology Laboratory.
- Specimen Preparation
- Storage/Transport Temperature
- Unacceptable Conditions
- Air dried smears. Refer to the Specimen Rejection section Specimen Transport Guide.
- Fixed slides: Indefinitely
- Herpes, Cytology (Cytology, Tzanck Smear)
- Tzanck Smear (Cytology, Tzanck Smear)