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Buccal smear - illustration

Buccal  smear - illustration


A buccal smear is a test where cells are taken from the cheek. Cells are collected by scraping the cheek with a cotton swab. The cells can be used for genetic testing, as well as evaluated for the presence of Barr bodies (a mass seen in a normal female sex chromosome). When used for that purpose, the buccal smear test can confirm whether the patient is a male or female.

Review Date 5/2/2021

Updated by: Anna C. Edens Hurst, MD, MS, Associate Professor in Medical Genetics, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.