A bone marrow
Biopsy - bone marrow
How the test is performed
A bone marrow biopsy may be done in the health care provider's office or in a hospital. The sample is usually taken from the hip bone. The health care provider will clean the skin and inject a numbing medicine into the area. Rarely, you may be given medicine to help you relax.
The doctor inserts the biopsy needle into the bone. The center of the needle is removed and the hollowed needle is moved deeper into the bone. This captures a tiny sample, or core, of bone marrow within the needle. The sample and needle are removed. Pressure and a bandage is applied to the biopsy site.
A bone marrow aspirate may also be performed, usually before the biopsy is taken. After the skin is numbed, the needle is inserted into the bone, and a syringe is used to withdraw the liquid bone marrow. If this is done, the needle will be removed and either repositioned, or another needle may be used for the biopsy.
How to prepare for the test
Tell the health care provider:
- If you are allergic to any medications
- What medications you are taking
- If you have bleeding problems
- If you are pregnant
You must sign a consent form.
How the test will feel
You will feel a sharp sting when the numbing medicine is injected. You may feel a brief, sharp pain when the liquid (aspirate) is removed.
The biopsy needle may also cause a brief, usually more dull, pain. Since the inside of the bone cannot be numbed, this test may cause some discomfort. However, not all patients have such pain.
Why the test is performed
Your doctor may order this test if you have abnormal types or numbers of red or white blood cells or platelets on a
This test is used to diagnose leukemia, infections, some types of anemia, and other blood disorders. It may also be used to help determine if a cancer has spread or responded to treatment.
Review Date: 06/02/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.