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Test Code Urine Cytology Urine Cytology

Collection Container

Plastic container with lid

Specimen Required

Urine Cytology

Special Handling Instructions

Limitations: Voided specimens, expecially on female patients must be clean catch specimens.  The concentration of urothelial cells is extremely diluted by large numbers of squamous cell contaminants if the sample is not a clean catch specimen.  This compromises the validity of a negative diagnosis.  Low-grade papillary transitional cell or urothelial carcinomas may not be diagnosed by cytologic examination.  Calculi and recent instrumentation may produce atypical changes in urothelial cells simulating malignancy.  Chemotherapy and radiation may also produce changes simulating neoplasia.  Viral culture is the method of choice for the diagnosis of CMV.


Note: Voided urine is much preferred over a catheterized sample due to atypical cell changes caused by trauma.  Low-grade papillary lesions cannot be diagnosed on saline wash specimens without the benefit of correlation with previously obtained voided specimens.

Specimen Volume

50 mL or greater

Transport Temperature

Collect fresh and deliver immediately to the Cytology Laboratory.  Refrigerate if delay occurs.

Specimen Stability

Undue delay in transport is cause for rejection

Reasons for Rejection

24 - hour collection; undue delay in transport; failure to include pertinent history; low volume specimens of voided urine; unlabeled or mislabeled specimens container.

Days and Times Performed

Monday - Friday, 7:30 am - 5 pm

Turnaround Time

24 - 48 hours; for same day processing, specimens must be received by 2 pm

Reference Ranges

From negative to altered cells suggestive of inflammation or repair to cellular changes conclusive for malignant neoplasm.  Negative to positive for viral inclusions.

CPT Code


EMR Interface Order Code