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Bone Marrow Biopsy


  • A bone marrow biopsy (BEYE-op-see) is a procedure done to remove a small amount of marrow from your bone. Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue inside of your larger bones. Bone marrow makes blood cells called platelets, red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells (WBCs). Platelets help your blood to clot (stop bleeding). RBCs carry oxygen to your tissues, and WBCs help your body to fight infection. During the biopsy, caregivers use a needle and syringe to draw marrow out of your bone. The bone marrow is usually taken from the hip bone. After the biopsy, caregivers send your bone marrow to a lab for tests.
    Long Bone
  • You may need a bone marrow biopsy to find out why you are having problems with your blood cells. You may need the biopsy if you have anemia (not enough red blood cells). You may need a biopsy to learn if you have cancer in your bone marrow. A bone marrow biopsy may also be done to see how you are doing during some cancer treatments. The biopsy results will help caregivers plan the best treatment for you. This procedure may be done in your caregiver's office, in a clinic, or in the hospital.
    Bone Marrow Biopsy



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

How can I take care of myself after the biopsy?

  • Rest for the remainder of the day after the biopsy.
  • You may feel sore for two or three days after the biopsy. Your caregiver may suggest ice treatments. Ice causes blood vessels to constrict (get small) which helps decrease inflammation (swelling, pain, and redness). Ice is best started after the biopsy and for the next 24 to 48 hours afterwards. Put crushed ice in a plastic bag and cover it with a towel. Place this on the biopsy area for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as long as you need it. Do not sleep on the ice pack because you can get frostbite.
  • Keep the area clean and dry for 24 hours. Change your bandage any time it gets wet or dirty. If you cannot reach the bandage, ask someone else to help you change it.

Wellness Hints:

  • Eat healthy foods: Choose healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including dark green and orange vegetables. Include dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose protein sources, such as lean beef and chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Ask how many servings of fats, oils, and sweets you should have each day, and if you need to be on a special diet.
  • Drinking liquids: Adults should drink about 9 to 13 cups of liquid each day. One cup is 8 ounces. Good choices of liquids for most people include water, juice, and milk. Coffee, soup, and fruit may be counted in your daily liquid amount. Ask your caregiver how much liquid you should drink each day.
  • Do not smoke: Smoking causes lung cancer and other long-term lung diseases. It increases your risk of many cancer types. Smoking also increases your risk of blood vessel disease, heart attack, and vision disorders. Not smoking may help prevent such symptoms as headaches and dizziness for yourself and those around you. Smokers have shorter lifespans than nonsmokers.


  • You have severe (very bad) pain in the area of the biopsy for more than 24 hours.
  • You have any bleeding other than a small spot on the dressing. Call if you have an increased amount of bruising after the first 24 hours.
  • The skin around your biopsy area is red, swollen, or has pus around it. This may mean that you have an infection (in-FEK-shun).
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy. These are signs that you may have an infection.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms. This may mean you are allergic (al-ER-jik) to your medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your illness, biopsy, or medicine.


  • You have a fever.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Bone Marrow Biopsy (Aftercare Instructions)

Micromedex® Care Notes