Bone marrow reveals a wealth of information about diseases of the hematopoietic organs, which is why it is unavoidable in certain complaints. Frequently asked questions about bone marrow biopsy dr. Ágnes Kárpáti oncohematologist, physician at the Center for Thrombosis and Hematology.
Am I a cancer patient?
When it comes to bone marrow biopsy, most people think it is needed because of a cancer screening. It is true that leukemia and lymphoma are common causes of the procedure, but it can also occur in connection with the investigation of platelet deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency and various infections and inflammations.
Which bone are sampled?
Bone marrow biopsy is not possible from all bone marrow. In the body of tubular bones such as the femur, there is yellow bone marrow, which is largely made up of fat cells. The procedure can only be performed on bones in which red bone marrow is found. Sampling is therefore most often from the sternum or pelvic bone.
Aspiration or biopsy?
Depending on the individual, two types of sampling can take place during the intervention. During aspiration, cells are aspirated from the spongy material of the bone marrow using a syringe. These cells perform several functions: they will be red and white blood cells and platelets responsible for blood clotting.. The biopsy is very similar to this, with the difference that not only cells but also a tiny bone cylinder are taken during the procedure for further examination. Which type of sampling takes place depends on the complaints and the suspected disease.
How painful is a bone marrow biopsy?
The test is performed under local anesthesia. The procedure is quick, the most inconvenient part is when the needle reaches the cancellous bone marrow and sampling takes place. This can cause short-term pain and a feeling of tension.
How do I prepare for the test?
There are no restrictions on meals or other activities prior to the study. However, the treating physician should be informed of the anticoagulant product being taken, as this should be temporarily suspended due to testing.
What should I look for after the procedure?
A bone marrow biopsy can be performed on an outpatient order and can leave the patient’s home after the procedure. The sampling point must not be exposed to water for 24 hours, this must be ensured.
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