Health Information

Buccal smear

Buccal smear


Sex chromatin test

A buccal  (pronounced "buckle") smear is the painless removal of a sample of cells from the inside of your mouth (cheek) for study.

I Would Like to Learn About:

  • How the Test is Performed

    The health care provider will gently scrape the inside of the cheek with a small spatula to collect cells for testing. Sometimes, you can do this yourself.

  • How to Prepare for the Test

    Rinse and wash the mouth as instructed.

  • How the Test Will Feel

    You will feel a scraping sensation as cells are removed from the cheek.

  • Why the Test is Performed

    This test is done to get cells for chromosome or DNA analysis, most often for genetic testing.

    The International Olympic Committee adopted the test many years ago to help detect male imposters among female athletes. When the test is used in this way, it's called the sex chromatin test.

    This test may also help establish the sexual identity of newborns.

  • Risks

    There are no risks.

Related Information



Review Date: 1/4/2013  

Reviewed By: Chad Haldeman-Englert, MD, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Section on Medical Genetics, Winston-Salem, NC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, and Stephanie Slon.

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