Click here to return to the LMHS Home Page

 

Print-Friendly
Bookmarks

Skin lesion KOH exam

Potassium hydroxide examination of skin lesion

 

The skin lesion KOH exam is a test to diagnose a fungal infection of the skin.

How the Test is Performed

 

The health care provider scrapes the problem area of your skin, using a blunt edge, such as the edge of a microscope slide. The scrapings from the skin are placed in liquid containing the chemical potassium hydroxide (KOH). The liquid is examined under the microscope. KOH destroys all non-fungal cells. This makes it easier to see if there is any fungus present.

 

How to Prepare for the Test

 

There is no special preparation for the test.

 

How the Test will Feel

 

You may feel pressure or pain when the provider scrapes your skin.

 

Why the Test is Performed

 

This test is done to diagnose a fungal infection of the skin.

 

Normal Results

 

No fungus is present.

 

What Abnormal Results Mean

 

Fungus is present. The fungus may be related to ringworm, athlete's foot, jock itch, or another fungal infection.

 

Risks

 

There is a small risk of bleeding or infection from scraping the skin.

 

 

References

Elewski BE, Hughey LC, Sobera JO, Hay R. Fungal diseases. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 77.

BACK TO TOPText only

 
  • Viral lesion culture

    Viral lesion culture

    illustration

    • Viral lesion culture

      Viral lesion culture

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Talking to your MD

       

        Self Care

         

          Tests for Skin lesion KOH exam

           
           

          Review Date: 4/14/2015

          Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
          adam.com

           
           
           

           

           

          A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.