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Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy

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.
  • Are allergic to any medicine, including anesthetics.
  • Have any bleeding problems or take blood-thinners, such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), or warfarin (Coumadin).
  • 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 camera.gif is usually done by a hematologist, medical oncologist, internist, or 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 biopsy.

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 camera.gif) 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.

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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 19, 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.

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