Follow That Sample: A Short Lab Tour

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Blood Sample
Throat Culture

As a patient, the lab test that has been ordered by your doctor may require that you have your blood drawn from a vein in the arm (venipuncture) or a fingerstick. It may also consist of, for example, a throat culture (taken by a swab rubbed against the back of your throat), a urine sample, or another sample of body fluid or even tissue (biopsy). Once the sample is obtained, you are finished with your part of the "lab test;" however, the real test happens in the laboratory where trained laboratorians use various methods to analyze the sample. Let's look at a couple of examples: a blood sample and a throat culture.