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Alternative Names Return to topPotassium hydroxide examination of skin lesion; Fungal wet prep
Definition Return to top
The skin lesion KOH exam is a test to diagnose a fungal infection of the skin.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
The health care provider scrapes the lesion off your skin, using a blunt edge such as the edge of a microscope slide. The scrapings from the skin lesion are placed in liquid containing potassium hydroxide (KOH) and examined under the microscope. KOH destroys all non-fungal cells, which makes it easier to see if there is any fungus present.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
There is no special preparation for the test.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
You may feel pressure when the doctor scrapes the lesion off your skin.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
This test is done to diagnose a fungal infection of the skin.
Normal Results Return to top
Normally, there is no fungus.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
The KOH smear shows fungus, which may be related to ringworm, athlete's foot, jock itch, or another fungal infection.
Risks Return to top
There is a small risk of bleeding or infection from scraping the lesion.Update Date: 4/15/2009 Updated by: Jonathan Kantor, M.D., North Florida Dermatology Associates, Jacksonville, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.