Bone Marrow Services

Bone Marrow Services

Your doctor may have ordered a bone marrow biopsy for you, to be performed by a Clin-Path provider at an ambulatory surgery center. For any questions regarding your upcoming/scheduled biopsy, contact Clin-Path scheduling department at: 602-595-0473

What you need to know about your bone marrow biopsy procedure

Procedure Overview

The bone marrow is where all of the blood cells are made. “Biopsy” means taking a small sample of intact bone and marrow by using a needle and syringe. Specimens are taken from the back part of your pelvic bone, near the hip. There may be some discomfort associated with this procedure, but there are options available to control the discomfort.

(1) You may elect to have your procedure with monitored anesthesia (‘going to sleep’). You will be given a fast acting intravenous sedation administered by an anesthesiologist. If you choose to go with this route, you may have nothing to eat or drink after midnight on the night before your procedure. You will not be aware that the biopsy is being done, and you will wake up very quickly once the procedure is over. You must have someone with you to drive you home, and you are not to drive or make complicated decisions for 24 hours afterward.

If you want to have monitored anesthesia (also known as ‘conscious sedation’), you must tell your doctor before your scheduled bone marrow.

(2) Alternatively, you may elect to have a local anesthetic rather than ‘going to sleep’. The area is numbed, much like the numbing that your experience with dental work. Local anesthesia decreases the discomfort, but will not entirely eliminate it. If you choose to have a local anesthetic, you do not have refrain from eating or drinking after midnight, and you may drive yourself home after the procedure.

About the Procedure

Your bone marrow biopsy procedure will be performed in an outpatient surgery center by either a Board Certified nurse practitioner or a physician (pathologist).

The biopsy will take 5-10 minutes, although 30 minutes scheduled for the entire procedure.

Risks include bleeding an infection, although both are extremely rare. Benefits include the possibility of a quick diagnosis.

After the procedure

Whether you have monitored anesthesia or a local anesthetic, you will spend approximately 30 minutes in the recovery room after your procedure. Nurses will watch you closely, including monitoring the biopsy site to be sure that there’s no bleeding. They will see to it that you are comfortable, and will make sure that you are awake enough to go home.

Once you are home, you should avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours. This included heavy lifting and strenuous house or yard work. The biopsy site should be kept clean and dry for at least 24 hours; this means no shower for one day after the procedure. You may not submerge in water (bathtub, pool or hot-tub) for 5 -7 days.

If you are experiencing bleeding at the biopsy site, bleeding can be stopped by applying direct pressure; roll up a towel, place it under the site and lie on it, putting your body weight on the site for 45 minutes. If bleeding continues, call your ordering physician or go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care.

You may return to work on school on the day following your procedure.

Your biopsy will be examined by a hematopathologist with results typically sent to your physician within 24-48 hours. Contact the doctor who ordered your procedure for your results.