Bone Marrow Biopsy
A bone marrow biopsy
Bone Marrow Biopsy
Reasons for Procedure
A bone marrow biopsy may be done to:
- Evaluate unexplained low red blood cell count (anemia
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have this procedure, your doctor will review a list of possible complications which may include:
Some risk factors for complications during this procedure include:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may perform a physical exam and blood tests.
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
Local anesthesia will be used. It will numb the area.
Description of Procedure
You may be given a light sedative. It will help you relax. The biopsy area will be cleaned and numbed.
A hollow biopsy needle will be inserted into the bone. The needle will be twisted and advanced. This motion will allow a sample of bone marrow to enter the core of the needle. The doctor may need to use a fair amount of pressure and may need to rock the needle. The needle will then be removed. The bone marrow sample will be inside the needle. Pressure will be applied over the puncture area. A bandage will be applied.
Immediately After Procedure
The bone marrow specimen will be examined by a pathologist. Ask your doctor when to expect the results.
How Long Will It Take?
About 30 minutes
Will It Hurt?
The injection of anesthesia may sting or burn. You may notice a sensation of pressure and/or pain when the biopsy needle is rocked. Once the biopsy is done, you may feel soreness in the area for a few hours.
You should be able to resume your normal activities after your biopsy. If you have had a sedative, avoid driving or operating equipment until the effects of the medicine have worn off.
Be sure to follow all of your doctor's instructions.
Call Your Doctor
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the biopsy site
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, rash, or other new symptoms
In case of an emergency, call 911.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
BC Cancer Agency
Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario
Bone marrow biopsy. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003934.htm. Updated July 11, 2008. Accessed July 10, 2009.
Pfenninger JL, Fowler GC. Procedures for Primary Care Physicians. St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book; 1994.
Wintrobe MM, Lee GR. Wintrobe's Clinical Hematology. 10th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; 1999.
Last reviewed October 2009 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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