Wound Infection Workup

Updated: Mar 16, 2023
  • Author: Hemant Singhal, MD, MBBS, MBA, FRCS, FRCS(Edin), FRCSC; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Laboratory Studies

The simplest, and usually the quickest, staining method involves obtaining a Gram stain for infective organisms. Staining for fungal elements can be obtained at the same time.

Most laboratories routinely will culture for both aerobic and anaerobic organisms. Fungal cultures can be requested. Isolation of single colonies allows further growth and identification of the specific organism. Sensitivity testing then follows mainly for aerobic organisms.

Other techniques include the following:

  • Tests for antigens from the organism through enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) or radioimmunoassay
  • Detection of antibody response to the organism in the host sera
  • Detection of RNA or DNA sequences or protein from the infective organism by Northern, Southern, or Western blotting, respectively
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect small amounts of microbial DNA


Ultrasonography (US) can be applied to the infected wound area to assess whether there is a collection for which drainage is required.