Bone Marrow Aspirate and Biopsy

Bone marrow is the spongy material found in the center of many bones in the body. The bone marrow is the substance that makes the different types of blood cells.

A bone marrow aspirate and biopsy is done to see if the blood cells in your child's body are being properly made.

Aspiration refers to the removal of fluid by suction.

A biopsy is the removal of a small piece of marrow tissue by a special biopsy needle.

Most of the time, this procedure is done under general anesthesia either in the clinic or in the operating room.

A small amount of numbing medicine is injected into your child's skin so the test site will not hurt as much when your child wakes from anesthesia. It takes one to two minutes for the area to become numb.

After one to two minutes, a needle is placed into the bone marrow and a small amount of marrow is pulled up into a syringe. Then the needle is withdrawn and this part of the test is over.

Bone marrow looks like blood in the syringe.

The bone marrow biopsy is done after the bone marrow aspiration. A new larger needle is inserted in the same place and it is pushed down until a small piece of bone is in the needle.

Once the biopsy specimen is in the needle, the doctor will remove the needle. Sometimes the doctor may decide another piece of the bone is needed for the biopsy. There are several reasons why this might happen. The doctor doing the test will explain if this happens to your child.

Soap will be gently washed off your child's skin. Pressure is applied to the site for one to two minutes after the test. A tight-fitting bandage is then put over the area where the test was done. The bandage should stay on for 24 hours and then it should be taken off.

The bone marrow sample will be studied under a microscope. Your child's doctor will have some of the test results for you within several hours. The biopsy results will take a couple of days to be complete. If you have questions, call your child's doctor. 


Last Updated 12/2013