A bone biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of bone is taken
from the body and looked at under a microscope for cancer, infection, or other
bone disorders. The sample of bone can be removed by:
A bone biopsy can be taken from any bone in the body. It is
easiest to get the biopsy samples from bones that are close to the skin surface
and away from any internal organs or large blood vessels.
biopsy is often done on bone areas that show problems on an
X-ray. Computed tomography (CT scan) or a
bone scan may be used to guide the biopsy
Why It Is Done
bone biopsy is done to:
- Confirm the diagnosis of a bone disorder (such
Paget's disease, a disease that may look like bone
cancer, or bone cancer) that was found by another test, such as an X-ray, CT
scan, bone scan, or a
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
- Tell the difference between a noncancerous (benign)
bone mass, such as a bone cyst, and bone cancer, such as
- See what is causing a
bone infection (osteomyelitis) or if an infection is
- Find the cause of ongoing bone pain.
bone problems seen on an X-ray.
An open bone biopsy allows your doctor to do surgical
treatment at the same time, if needed.
How To Prepare
Before having a bone biopsy, tell your
doctor if you:
- Are taking any medicines. If you take medicines every day, ask
your doctor whether you should stop taking these medicines before the
- Are allergic to any medicines, such as those used to numb the
- Have had bleeding problems
or take blood thinners, such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), or warfarin (Coumadin).
or might be pregnant.
- Take any herbal remedies. Some of these
remedies may thin the blood.
Getting ready for a bone biopsy changes depending on the
type of biopsy that will be done.
- For a closed biopsy (needle biopsy), you do not
need to do anything before the procedure. Right before the procedure, you will
be asked to remove most or all of your clothes. You will be given a gown to
use. You will be awake during the procedure. Arrange to have someone drive you
home because you may get a medicine (sedative) to help you relax.
- For an
open biopsy, your doctor will tell you how soon before surgery to stop eating
and drinking. Follow the instructions exactly
about when to stop eating and drinking, or your surgery may be canceled. If
your doctor has instructed you to take your medicines on the day of surgery,
please do so using only a sip of water. You can eat your regular diet after the
procedure. You may need to stay overnight in the hospital after an open biopsy
Before a bone biopsy, you need to sign a form (consent
form) that says you understand the risks of the bone biopsy and agree to have
the procedure done. Make sure that you understand how this procedure is done
before signing the consent form. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you
have regarding the need for the biopsy, its risks, how it will be done, or what
the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this procedure,
fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).