What To Expect From A Bone Marrow Biopsy

Bone marrow biopsy is a term used to describe a surgical procedure in which a small portion of bone marrow is extracted from the inside of the bones to be examined under a microscope. A bone marrow biopsy can help tell a physician how healthy a patient’s bone marrow is and how it is producing new blood cells. A bone marrow biopsy may be ordered if other tests like blood tests do not provide enough information about an issue, or if certain tests on the blood are consistently abnormal. A bone marrow biopsy is done on an outpatient basis, and most only require local anesthesia for the procedure. All bones in the body contain bone marrow, but the pelvis is the best bone for the removal of solid tissue for examination. The samples taken during the procedure are sent to a laboratory for analysis, and the results are reported back to the ordering physician within several days.

Learn about what to expect from a bone marrow biopsy now, starting with the details on precisely what bone marrow is.

What Is Bone Marrow?


Bone marrow has two different physical components: a liquid portion and a solid portion. A bone marrow aspiration procedure is utilized to remove the liquid physical component of the bone marrow for analysis, where a bone marrow biopsy is utilized to extract and examine the solid physical component of the bone marrow. In the center of the bones, there is a hollow area referred to as the medullary cavity. Inside the medullary cavity are the soft tissues that make up bone marrow. Bone marrow contains red bone marrow or myeloid tissue and yellow bone marrow or fatty tissue. The bone marrow in a healthy individual produces over 200 billion new blood cells each day. The red bone marrow does most of the work in the production of new blood cells, but yellow marrow can revert to red marrow in circumstances that warrant it, like fever or blood loss. Bone marrow produces white blood cells of different variations that can survive anywhere from a few hours to several days. It also produces red blood cells that last for 120 days and platelets that last for ten days.

Learn about when a bone marrow biopsy is needed next.