Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy
How It Is Done
A bone marrow aspiration or biopsy is usually done by a Reference hematologist Opens New Window, Reference medical oncologist Opens New Window, Reference internist Opens New Window, or Reference pathologist Opens New Window, or by a specially trained technologist. A laboratory technologist may also help get the sample. This biopsy may be done in your doctor's office or in a hospital.
You may need to take off all or most of your clothes, depending on what part of the body the biopsy or aspiration is taken from. If needed, you will be given a gown to use during the biopsy.
Blood samples from a vein in your arm may be taken before the bone marrow biopsy. In rare cases, you may be given a blood product (clotting factor or platelets) into a vein (Reference IV Opens New Window) in your arm to prevent bleeding after the biopsy.
Adults usually have a sample of bone marrow fluid taken from the back of the pelvic bone. In rare cases a fluid sample is removed from the breastbone (Reference sternum Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window) or from the front of the pelvic bone. Babies and young children may have the sample taken from the front of the lower leg bone, just below the knee. A bone marrow biopsy is only taken from the pelvic bone.
You may be given a sedative to help you relax. You will lie either on your side or facedown, on your belly, for the biopsy. It is important that you lie still in that position during the biopsy. See a picture of Reference bone marrow aspiration and biopsy Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
The skin over the aspiration site will be cleaned with a special solution and a medicine (Reference local anesthetic Opens New Window) will be used to numb the area. Then the aspiration needle will be put through your skin and into your bone to reach the bone marrow. You need to lie very still while the sample is taken. The needle is then taken out. More than one sample may be needed, possibly from more than one place on your body, such as from both sides of the pelvic bone. You are more likely to need more than one sample if the biopsy is being done to stage a condition, such as lymphoma.
A bone marrow biopsy uses a special tool that twists into the bone. It is normal to feel pressure at the site and hear a crunching sound as the tool twists into the bone.
After the samples have been taken, pressure is put on the site to stop any bleeding. A bandage is put on the area.
Each biopsy takes about 20 minutes. After the biopsy, you will remain lying down for 30 to 60 minutes. If the bleeding has stopped, you may do your normal activities. If you have been given a sedative, you may need several hours to rest. If you have an aspiration and biopsy from several places on your body, you may be given pain medicines to take at home or you may need to stay in the hospital overnight.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 12, 2010|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology