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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.
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may perform a physical exam and blood tests.
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
Local anesthesia will be used. It will numb the area.
Description of Procedure
You may be given a light sedative. It will help you relax. The biopsy area will be cleaned and numbed.
A hollow biopsy needle will be inserted into the bone. The needle will be twisted and advanced. This motion will allow a sample of bone marrow to enter the core of the needle. The doctor may need to use a fair amount of pressure and may need to rock the needle. The needle will then be removed. The bone marrow sample will be inside the needle. Pressure will be applied over the puncture area. A bandage will be applied.
Immediately After Procedure
The bone marrow specimen will be examined by a pathologist. Ask your doctor when to expect the results.
How Long Will It Take?
About 30 minutes
Will It Hurt?
The injection of anesthesia may sting or burn. You may notice a sensation of pressure and/or pain when the biopsy needle is rocked. Once the biopsy is done, you may feel soreness in the area for a few hours.
You should be able to resume your normal activities after your biopsy. If you have had a sedative, avoid driving or operating equipment until the effects of the medicine have worn off.
Be sure to follow all of your doctor's instructions .
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
BC Cancer Agency
Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario
Bone marrow biopsy. Mayo Clinic.com website. Available at:
. Updated November 2009. Accessed November 9, 2010.
Pfenninger JL, Fowler GC.
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Wintrobe MM, Lee GR.
Wintrobe's Clinical Hematology. 10th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; 1999.