Tuberculosis Skin Test (PPD Skin Test)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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How is the tuberculosis skin test administered?

The standard recommended tuberculin test, known as the Mantoux test, is administered by injecting a 0.1 mL of a liquid containing 5 TU (tuberculin units) of PPD into the top layers of skin (intradermally, immediately under the surface of the skin) of the forearm. The use of a skin area that is free of abnormalities and away from veins is recommended. The injection is typically made using a 27-gauge needle, and a tuberculin syringe. The tuberculin PPD is injected just beneath the surface of the skin. A discrete, pale elevation of the skin (a wheal) 6 mm-10 mm in diameter should be produced when the injection is done correctly. This wheal or "bleb" is generally quickly absorbed. If it is recognized that the first test was improperly administered, another test can be given at once, selecting a site several centimeters away from the original injection.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/25/2016

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