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Buccal smear



A buccal smear (pronounced "buckle") is the painless removal of a sample of cells from the lining of the mouth (inside of the cheek) for study.

Alternative Names

Sex chromatin test

How the test is performed

The health care provider will gently scrape the inside of the cheek with a small spatula to collect cells for testing.

How to prepare for the test

Rinse and wash the mouth as instructed.

How the test will feel

You will feel a scraping sensation as cells are removed from the cheek.

Why the test is performed

The procedure is used to obtain cells for chromosome and DNA analysis,most often for genetic testing. The International Olympic Committee adopted the test many years ago to help detect male imposters among female athletes. When the test is used in this way, it's called the sex chromatin test. This method may also help establish the sexual identity of newborns.

Normal Values

What abnormal results mean

What the risks are

There are no risks.

Special considerations

Review Date: 11/4/2008
Reviewed By: Frank A. Greco, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Biophysical Laboratory, The Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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