A bone marrow biopsy is used to evaluate the type, quantity, and maturity levels of the blood cells present in the marrow; to evaluate the fibrous structure of the marrow; and sometimes to collect a sample of marrow for more specific testing.
A bone marrow sample is collected primarily from the hip bone (pelvis) or sternum. Sometimes, however, it is collected from a vertebrae or the femur (thigh bone).
How this procedure is performed
The bone marrow biopsy procedure is performed by a doctor or other trained specialist. The most common collection site is the iliac crest (top ridge) of the hip bone.
Before the procedure the patient's blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature are measured and evalutated to make sure that they are within normal limits and some patients are given a mild sedative. The patient is then asked to lie down on his stomach or side for the collection and his lower body is draped with cloths so that only the area surrounding the site is exposed.
The site is cleaned with an antiseptic such as iodine, and injected with a local anesthetic. When the site has numbed the doctor inserts a needle through the skin and into the bone. The doctor uses a special needle that allows the collection of a core (a cylindrical sample) of bone and marrow.
Even though the patient's skin has been numbed, the patient may feel brief but uncomfortable pressure sensations during the procedure. After the needle has been withdrawn, a sterile bandage is placed over the site and pressure is applied. The patient is then usually instructed to lie quietly until his blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature are normal, and then to keep the collection site dry and covered for about 48 hours.
CPG Physicians who perform this procedure
James Lieb, DO
Ibrahim H. Sbeitan, MD
William R. Wynert, MD