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:
- You will be asked to remove clothing and will be given a gown to wear.
- Your position may vary depending on the bone that is used. If the pelvis is used, you may be asked to lie on your side or your stomach.
- During the procedure, you will need to lie as still as possible.
- The skin over the biopsy site will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution.
- As the physician injects a local anesthetic to numb the area, you will feel a needle stick and a brief stinging sensation.
- A small incision may be made over the biopsy site and the biopsy needle will be inserted through the surface of the bone and into the middle of the bone (bone marrow).
- A bone marrow aspiration is usually performed first. The physician will use a syringe to pull a small liquid sample of the bone marrow cells through the needle. It is common to feel pressure as the needle is pressed into the bone, and a pulling sensation when the marrow is removed.
- The physician will remove a small, solid piece of bone marrow, called a core biopsy, using a special hollow needle.
- The biopsy needle will be withdrawn and firm pressure will be applied to the biopsy site for a few minutes, until the bleeding has stopped.
- A sterile bandage/dressing will be applied.
- The bone marrow samples will be sent to the lab for examination.