Guide To Understanding Bone Marrow

When Bone Marrow Biopsies Are Recommended

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After conducting blood tests, doctors may recommend a bone marrow biopsy if the results show certain abnormalities. A bone marrow biopsy can help doctors find out more about the potential cause of the changes in the patient's blood. For example, the biopsy will help medical staff understand whether the patient's issues could be due to a blood disorder or to certain cancers. A bone marrow biopsy might also be performed for patients with cancer to determine how their treatment is affecting their bone marrow. Biopsies are normally performed at a doctor's office or hospital, and they are usually taken from the pelvic bone. Some patients may be given sedatives to help them relax during the procedure. First, the doctor will numb the skin with a local anesthetic. Next, a needle is inserted into the pelvic bone. The needle is attached to a syringe, and the doctor uses this to withdraw a tiny amount of liquid red bone marrow. The procedure takes around ten minutes, and patients who have not been given sedatives will be able to go home fifteen minutes after the procedure is complete. Patients should keep the biopsy site clean, dry, and bandaged for twenty-four hours after the procedure. Some patients experience minor pain for around one week after the biopsy, though this can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. The results of a bone marrow biopsy are normally available in one to three weeks.

Read about bone marrow donation next.

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Emily Fowler
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