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(Biopsy-Bone Marrow, Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy)
In the center of most large bones there is a soft tissue (called bone marrow) that makes about 95 percent of the body's blood cells. The marrow is a network of tissue that contains immature blood cells in an organized structure.
Red bone marrow is the active portion that produces red blood cells, while yellow bone marrow contains fat cells. In adults the red bone marrow is located in the flat bones, such as the upper hip bones and sternum. In children, the red bone marrow is in the long bones, such as the femur.
A bone marrow biopsy involves removing tissue from the red bone marrow to be sent to the lab for microscopic examination. The biopsy is done using a small needle inserted into an age appropriate area (long bone for children, flat bone for adults). A local anesthetic agent may be given before starting the procedure.
A bone marrow biopsy is usually performed if your physician suspects that you have a problem with blood cell production. A pathologist in the lab examines blood and bone marrow samples. By using a microscope with special lab techniques, the pathologist can evaluate the bone marrow for any of the following:
There may be other reasons for your physician to recommend a bone marrow biopsy.
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some possible complications may include, but are not limited to, the following:
There may be other risks depending upon your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician prior to the procedure.
A bone marrow biopsy may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician's practices.
A bone marrow biopsy is commonly done using the pelvis (iliac crest), but another bone (such as the breastbone) may be used. In a child, a leg bone or vertebra (bone in the spine) may be used.
Generally, a bone marrow biopsy follows this process:
Once you are home, it is important for you to keep the biopsy area clean and dry. Your physician will give you specific bathing instructions. Leave the bandage in place for as long as instructed by your physician (usually until the next day).
The biopsy site may be tender or sore for several days after the bone marrow biopsy. Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your physician. Aspirin or certain other pain medications may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medications.
Notify your physician to report any of the following:
You may resume your usual diet and activities unless your physician advises you differently.
Your physician may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
This page contains links to other Web sites with information about this procedure and related health conditions. We hope you find these sites helpful, but please remember that we do not control or endorse the information presented on these Web sites, nor do these sites endorse the information contained here.