Sputum cytology examines a sample of sputum (mucus) under a microscope to determine whether abnormal cells are present. Sputum is not the same as saliva. Sputum is produced in the lungs and in the airways leading to the lungs. Sputum has some normal lung cells in it. See a picture of the Reference lungs' airways Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
Sputum cytology may be done to help detect certain noncancerous lung conditions. It may also be done when Reference lung cancer Opens New Window is suspected.
A sputum sample may be collected:
- By a person coughing up mucus.
- By breathing in a saltwater (saline) mist and then coughing.
- During Reference bronchoscopy Opens New Window, which uses a bronchoscope to look at the throat and airway.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 1, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology