Fine Needle Aspiration | Bone Marrow Aspiration & Biopsy | Directions

Bone Marrow Aspiration & Biopsy

Bone marrow, the soft tissue inside bones, helps form blood cells. Bone marrow sampling allows for the diagnosis of infections, low blood count causes (e.g. anemia), lymphoma, leukemia and other blood disorders.

Outpatient bone marrow sampling usually takes less than 30 minutes, and one of our primary goals is patient comfort.

The patient usually has a specimen taken from the posterior back (iliac crest) using a needle that is slightly larger than ones used to routinely draw blood. The patient is asked to lie on the side or stomach. The skin is cleaned and injected with a numbing medication (Lidocaine) at the site where the specimen is to be obtained. After a few minutes, samples are taken and a Band-Aid is placed over the site. The procedure risks are the same as having blood drawn (infection and bleeding). There are usually no limitations on activity following the procedure.

Aspiration and biopsy care tips

  • Keep the Band-Aid on for 24 hours. Do not shower or bathe during this time.
  • Apply pressure to the area if bleeding or swelling occurs at the biopsy site. A small amount of bleeding is normal, but it should not soak through the bandage. If it does, apply pressure and call your primary care physician.
  • Take whatever medication you normally use for musculoskeletal pain (e.g. acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin etc.) to alleviate discomfort at the site.

Call your referring physician to address pain that is not relieved by this approach.