Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy
How It Is Done continued...
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.
How It Feels
This procedure may be painful, but only for a few seconds. You may feel a sharp sting and burn when
the anesthetic numbs your skin over the aspiration or biopsy site. You may hear
a crunching sound and feel pressure and some pain when the needle enters the
bone. During an aspiration, you
may feel a quick, shooting pain down your leg as the sample is taken.
The biopsy site may feel
stiff or sore for several days after the biopsy. You may have a bruise on the
Serious problems from a bone marrow aspiration
or biopsy are not common. Problems may include:
- Bleeding from the biopsy site. People with
bleeding problems have a higher chance for this. If you have bleeding problems,
pressure will be put on the biopsy site for at least 10 minutes after the
biopsy. In rare cases, you may be given a blood product (clotting factor or
platelets) in a vein in your arm before the biopsy to prevent bleeding after
- Infection of skin or the bone (osteomyelitis)
at the biopsy site.
- Injury to your heart, a lung, or a major blood
vessel if the sample is taken from the breastbone (sternum). This complication
is very rare. Samples are not often taken from the breastbone, so most people
do not have to worry about this risk.
After the biopsy
You will lie down for 30 to 60
minutes after the biopsy so the site can be checked for bleeding. If you had a sedative, you will need someone to
drive you home after the biopsy.
You may feel sore at the biopsy
site for several days. Ice packs to the site, walking, and pain medicine, such
as acetaminophen (Tylenol), can be used to help you feel better.
Call your doctor immediately if you have:
- More tenderness, pain, redness, or swelling
at the biopsy site.
- A fever.
- Bleeding or drainage, such
as pus, from the biopsy site. If you are bleeding, put pressure on the site and
call your doctor.