How To Prepare
You will be asked to sign a consent
form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about the need for the
aspiration or biopsy, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results may
mean. To help you understand the importance of the biopsy, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
Tell your doctor if you:
- Are taking any medicines.
allergic to any medicine, including
- Have any bleeding problems or
take blood-thinners, such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), or warfarin
- Are or might be pregnant.
Arrange for someone to drive you home after the biopsy
because you may be given a medicine (sedative) to
help you relax.
How It Is Done
A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy is
usually done by a
pathologist, 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
During the test
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 (IV) 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 (sternum ) 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
The skin over the aspiration site will be cleaned
with a special solution and a medicine (local anesthetic) 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.
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.