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Everything You Need to Know About Bone Marrow Aspiration

Bone marrow aspiration can be used to help diagnose a variety of diseases. Whether you are considering the procedure, or are simply curious, here is everything you need to know about bone marrow aspiration.

What Is It? A bone marrow aspiration is essentially the process of sticking a needle into your bone, usually the pelvic or breast bone, and removing a bit of liquid and tissue around your bone marrow. Unlike a bone marrow biopsy, which removes a bit of actual bone marrow, bone marrow aspiration will remove the liquid, soft tissue and cells but not the marrow its self.

Will It Hurt? You can have bone marrow aspiration done at your doctor’s office or a clinic; regardless of the location an anesthetic will be applied around the injection site. You will feel pressure as the needle goes in and a bit of pain as tissue is aspirated, which will only last several seconds.

What Does it Check For? Your bone marrow is responsible for producing a number of vital cells including red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your tissues, and white blood cells, which play a key role in your immune system. Bone marrow aspiration checks for abnormalities in these and other cells.

What Should I Tell My Doctor: Prior to bone marrow aspiration, you should give your doctor a complete list of your medications. You should also let your doctor know if you have any conditions, even ones that you are taking medications for, allergies or are pregnant.

What Are The Risks? Bone marrow aspiration is a relatively low risk procedure. You may experience some bleeding at the injection site, but major bleeding and infection are rare.

What Does An Abnormal Result Mean? Bone marrow aspiration tests for a number of things including leukemia, anemia and other types of disorders and cancers. You doctor will evaluate the sample and alert you to any abnormalities.