Skip to content

Cancer Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Bone Biopsy

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.

A bone 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 needle.

Why It Is Done

A bone biopsy is done to:

  • Confirm the diagnosis of a bone disorder (such as 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 multiple myeloma.
  • See what is causing a bone infection (osteomyelitis) or if an infection is present.
  • Find the cause of ongoing bone pain.
  • Check 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 test.
  • Are allergic to any medicines, such as those used to numb the skin (anesthetics).
  • Have had bleeding problems or take blood thinners, such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), or warfarin (Coumadin).
  • Are or might be pregnant.
  • Take any herbal remedies. Some of these remedies may thin the blood.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 04, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
A common one in both men and women.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
 
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Do you know the symptoms?
 
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
Blog
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
 
colorectal cancer treatment advances
Video
breast cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
prostate cancer overview
SLIDESHOW
lung cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Actor Michael Douglas
Article