Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond
QUESTION: I have been told that I need a bone marrow biopsy.
I am worried about this test. Can you tell me what I need to prepare for?
ANSWER: A bone marrow biopsy is a test that examines the
bone marrow. It is commonly recommended to diagnose and monitor a variety
of conditions. A bone marrow biopsy can also be used to diagnose or determine
the extent of some types of cancer. A bone marrow biopsy is done through a
procedure called a bone marrow aspiration. This is the technique used to obtain
a sample of the marrow, the blood forming portion of the inner core of the bone.
A bone marrow aspiration is usually taken from the pelvic bone (ilium). This
is accessible from the lower back, near the hip. Bone marrow can also be taken
from the front of the pelvic bone (near the groin) or the sternum (the center bone
in the chest).
A bone marrow aspiration is done with a local anesthetic to numb the skin and tissue
down to the bone. A small cut (about a quarter inch) is made in the skin.
A special needle is used to puncture the bone. Once inside the bone, the center
portion of the needle is removed and a syringe is attached to the end of the needle
and the marrow (which is liquid) is withdrawn. For a bone marrow biopsy, a
core of tissue is trapped inside the center needle before it is removed. The
samples are prepared and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
After the bone marrow biopsy procedure is complete, a band-aid is applied to the
site. There are no special precautions that need to be taken after a bone
marrow aspiration. However, the site may feel sore (like a bad bruise) for
several days. This discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications
recommended by your doctor.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional
about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained
in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute
for medical advice.
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