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Buccal smear - illustration

Buccal  smear - illustration

Overview

A buccal smear is a test where cells are taken from the cheek. Cells are collected by scraping the cheek with a spatula. The cells can be used for genetic testing, including the presence of the sample taken to the laboratory for evaluation. The cells are evaluated for the presence of Barr bodies (a mass seen in a normal female sex chromosome). The buccal smear test can confirm whether the patient is a male or female.

Review Date 5/1/2017

Updated by: Anna C. Edens Hurst, MD, MS, Assistant 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.