Bone Marrow Biopsy - Indication

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Why are bone marrow biopsies or aspirations done?

Most bone marrow aspirations are performed to diagnose various conditions that affect the different types of blood cells. Abnormal blood counts can lead a doctor to suspect that there may be a problem in the bone marrow. Another frequent purpose of a bone marrow is to diagnose certain cancers or to determine the extent of a cancer (cancer staging) that is present within the bone marrow. Bone marrow procedures can also detect uncommon conditions, both cancerous and noncancerous, including abnormal proteins (such as in amyloidosis), inflammation (such as in sarcoidosis), and infection (such as in tuberculosis). This procedure can also be used to obtain marrow cells for transplantation.

Bone marrow biopsies remove a core of bone to allow physicians to evaluate the structure of the tissue with a microscope. These reveal both the bone and any associated cells, protein deposits, or inflammatory processes. A bone marrow aspirate is primarily a liquid sample that reveals the mixed cell population of cells within the marrow. An aspirate does not show the relationship of the cells to each other or to the bone, or the cells' precise location in relation to the bone. The procedures may be performed together, with an aspirate obtained prior to a biopsy.

Return to Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy

See what others are saying

Comment from: #THEKINGSKID, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 30

I was experiencing some swelling in my ankles, hands, and feet. I went to a walk-in clinic, thinking I was having a reaction to my medications. I had blood work, EKG, Stomach CT scan, urine lab test, and chest x-rays. The only answer was my WBC counts were 25,000, with no apparent infection or diagnosis. A few days later I had more CBCs done and was sent to a hematologist/oncologist. I got the (CML) diagnosis on 07/09/2014. My doctor said you have chronic myelogenous leukemia. I had my bone marrow aspiration biopsy on Tuesday (07/22/2014). I was informed that the biopsy will help determine a definite phase and help to administer the correct dosage of medication. I have started taking Gleevec 400 mg, 1 pill per day for life. I will return to my doctor tomorrow (07/28/2014) for my bone marrow biopsy results. I hope my information will help someone in their journey with a CML diagnosis or other kinds of cancer.

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Comment from: Mary, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 27

I felt a large lump in my groin area. I had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma 15 years ago and it was stage 2. They did a PET scan and now it is back. This time it is stage 3 or 4. They did a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration. I don't know exactly why they did this, except to determine whether it is stage 3 or 4. I don't know what the purpose of this test was, or what else it shows. I was hoping this site would tell me. I don't know if the treatment for stage 3 would be any different from stage 4. Anyway, if you feel a lump go to the doctor as soon as possible. There are really very few signs of lymphoma. I was just lucky I guess in finding the lump when I did.

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