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Bone Marrow Biopsy
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Bone Marrow Biopsy?

A bone marrow biopsy is the removal of a sample of bone marrow. The sample is sent for testing. The procedure is most often done on the pelvic bone, but it may also be done on the sternum.

Bone Marrow Biopsy
Bone Marrow Biopsy
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

A bone marrow biopsy may be done to:

  • Evaluate unexplained low red blood cell count ( anemia ), low white cell count (leucopenia), or low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
  • Diagnosis and staging of lymphoma (tumors of the lymphoid tissues) or solid tumors
  • Diagnosis, monitoring and evaluation of leukemias
  • Evaluate iron level problems
  • Investigate unexplained spleen enlargement (splenomegaly)
  • Evaluate other blood disorders

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have this procedure, your doctor will review a list of possible complications which may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding

Some risk factors for complications during this procedure include:

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Infection of the skin at the biopsy site
  • Infection in the bloodstream
  • Previous radiation treatment to the biopsy site
  • Severe osteoporosis

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the biopsy site
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Cough, shortness of...