Bone Marrow Aspiration and Bone Marrow Biopsy

What is Bone Marrow Aspiration and Bone Marrow Biopsy

Bone marrow aspiration and bone marrow biopsy are procedures that are done to diagnose blood disorders. You may also have one of these procedures to help diagnose infections or some types of cancer.

Bone marrow is the soft tissue that is inside your bones. Blood cells are produced in bone marrow. For bone marrow aspiration, a sample of tissue in liquid form is removed from inside your bone. For a bone marrow biopsy, a small core of bone marrow tissue is removed. These samples are examined under a microscope or tested in a lab.

You may need these procedures if you have an abnormal complete blood count (CBC). The aspiration or biopsy sample is usually taken from the top of your hip bone. Sometimes, an aspiration sample is taken from your chest bone (sternum).

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
  • Any blood or bone disorders you have.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Whether you are pregnant or you think that you may be pregnant.

What are the risks?

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, problems may occur, including:

  • Infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • Persistent pain after the procedure.
  • Cracking (fracture) of the bone.
  • Allergic reactions to medicines.

What happens before the procedure?

Staying hydrated

Follow instructions from your health care provider about hydration, which may include:

  • Up to 2 hours before the procedure – you may continue to drink clear liquids, such as water, clear fruit juice, black coffee, and plain tea.

Eating and drinking restrictions

Follow instructions from your health care provider about eating and drinking, which may include:

  • 8 hours before the procedure – stop eating heavy meals or foods such as meat, fried foods, or fatty foods.
  • 6 hours before the procedure – stop eating light meals or foods, such as toast or cereal.
  • 6 hours before the procedure – stop drinking milk or drinks that contain milk.
  • 2 hours before the procedure – stop drinking clear liquids.

Medicines

  • Ask your health care provider about:
    • Changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicines or blood thinners.
    • Taking medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines can thin your blood.Do nottake these medicines before your procedure if your health care provider instructs you not to.
  • You may be given antibiotic medicine to help prevent infection.

General instructions

  • Plan to have someone take you home after the procedure.
  • If you will be going home right after the procedure, plan to have someone with you for 24 hours.
  • Ask your health care provider how your surgical site will be marked or identified.

What happens during the procedure?

  • To reduce your risk of infection:
    • Your health care team will wash or sanitize their hands.
    • Your skin will be washed with soap.
    • Hair may be removed from the surgical area.
  • An IV tube may be inserted into one of your veins.
  • The injection site will be cleaned with a germ-killing solution (antiseptic).
  • You will be given one or more of the following:
    • A medicine to help you relax (sedative).
    • A medicine to numb the area (local anesthetic).
    • A medicine to make you fall asleep (general anesthetic).
  • The bone marrow sample will be removed as follows:
    • For an aspiration, a hollow needle will be inserted through your skin and into your bone. Bone marrow fluid will be drawn up into a syringe.
    • For a biopsy, your health care provider will use a hollow needle to remove a core of tissue from your bone marrow.
  • The needle will be removed.
  • A bandage (dressing) will be placed over the insertion site and taped in place.

The procedure may vary among health care providers and hospitals.

What happens after the procedure?

  • Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen level will be monitored until the medicines you were given have worn off.
  • Your IV tube will be removed, and the insertion site will be checked for bleeding.
  • Do notdrive for 24 hours if you were given a sedative.

Bone Marrow Aspiration and Bone Marrow Biopsy, Adult, Care After

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, it is common to have:

  • Mild pain and tenderness.
  • Swelling.
  • Bruising.

Follow these instructions at home:

Take over-the-counter or prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.

  • Do nottake baths, swim, or use a hot tub until your health care provider approves. Ask if you can take a shower or have a sponge bath.
  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about how to take care of the puncture site. Make sure you:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water before you change your bandage (dressing). If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
    • Change your dressing as told by your health care provider.
  • Check your puncture site every day for signs of infection. Check for:
    • More redness, swelling, or pain.
    • More fluid or blood.
    • Warmth.
    • Pus or a bad smell.
  • Return to your normal activities as told by your health care provider. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
  • Do notdrive for 24 hours if you were given a medicine to help you relax (sedative).
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have more redness, swelling, or pain around the puncture site.
  • You have more fluid or blood coming from the puncture site.
  • Your puncture site feels warm to the touch.
  • You have pus or a bad smell coming from the puncture site.
  • You have a fever.
  • Your pain is not controlled with medicine.

Bone Marrow Aspiration and Bone Marrow Biopsy, Adult, Care After

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, it is common to have:

  • Mild pain and tenderness.
  • Swelling.
  • Bruising.

Follow these instructions at home:

Take over-the-counter or prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.

  • Do nottake baths, swim, or use a hot tub until your health care provider approves. Ask if you can take a shower or have a sponge bath.
  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about how to take care of the puncture site. Make sure you:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water before you change your bandage (dressing). If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
    • Change your dressing as told by your health care provider.
  • Check your puncture site every day for signs of infection. Check for:
    • More redness, swelling, or pain.
    • More fluid or blood.
    • Warmth.
    • Pus or a bad smell.
  • Return to your normal activities as told by your health care provider. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
  • Do notdrive for 24 hours if you were given a medicine to help you relax (sedative).
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have more redness, swelling, or pain around the puncture site.
  • You have more fluid or blood coming from the puncture site.
  • Your puncture site feels warm to the touch.
  • You have pus or a bad smell coming from the puncture site.
  • You have a fever.
  • Your pain is not controlled with medicine.
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