Click here to return to the home page.
The Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC

For Patients & Families
Diagnostic Tests & Procedures

Bone Marrow Aspirate & Biopsy

What is a bone marrow aspirate & biopsy?

A bone marrow aspirate and biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of bone marrow and bone are collected. Bone marrow aspirates and biopsies are done to diagnose your disease and to determine the effectiveness of your treatment.

Patient Preparation

The aspirate and biopsy are performed either in the BMT Inpatient Unit or the BMT Day Care Outpatient Unit. The doctor performs the procedure with the assistance of a laboratory technician.

You can eat and drink before the test, but should empty your bladder before the procedure as it takes about 15-20 minutes and you must lie flat for half an hour before resuming normal activities.

The Procedure - What to Expect

A pre-medication may be given to help you relax during the procedure. The aspirate and biopsy are taken from the back of the pelvic bone. The skin is first cleansed with an antiseptic solution. A local anesthetic is then injected with a very fine needle to freeze the area. Once the freezing is working, a larger needle is put into the bone to take out a sample of bone marrow (the aspirate) and a small piece of bone (the biopsy). You may feel some discomfort or pressure during the procedure, as the bone itself cannot be frozen. Tell the doctor if you are feeling too uncomfortable. Once the biopsy is done, a small bandage is put on the site. You will be asked to lie on a “sandbag” for 15-20 minutes to provide pressure to the area.  This helps to prevent bleeding and bruising. The nurse will check the site for bleeding. The bandage can be removed the next day after which you may bathe or shower normally.

^ Top