Skip to Content

Bone Marrow Biopsy


What you need to know about a bone marrow biopsy:

A bone marrow biopsy is a procedure to remove a small amount of bone marrow from your bone. Bone marrow is the soft tissue inside your bone that helps to make blood cells. Bone marrow biopsies are usually done on the pelvic bone. The sample is tested for disease or infection.

How to prepare for a bone marrow biopsy:

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for this procedure. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. You may need to arrange for someone to drive you home after your procedure.

What will happen during a bone marrow biopsy:

You may be given medicine to help you relax or make you drowsy. You will be asked to lie on your side or on your stomach. You will be given local anesthesia to numb the biopsy area. Your healthcare provider will make a small incision on your lower back. He will then insert a needle through the incision and into your pelvic bone. The needle will be used to take a sample of bone marrow. You may feel pressure and discomfort. A bandage will be applied over the biopsy area.

What will happen after a bone marrow biopsy:

You may need to lie on the biopsy area for up to 1 hour. This helps to apply pressure on the area to stop any bleeding. You may have mild pain or discomfort in the biopsy area for up to 1 week after your procedure.

Risks of a bone marrow biopsy:

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection in the biopsy area.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe pain in the biopsy area.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your biopsy area is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Rest as directed. Do not lift heavy objects or do intense exercise for a few days after the procedure. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to your daily activities.
  • Care for your biopsy area as directed. You will need to keep the biopsy area dry and covered with a bandage for 24 to 48 hours. Do not take a shower or bath, or get into a hot tub or swimming pool for 24 to 48 hours after your procedure.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.