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Bone Marrow Harvesting


  • Bone marrow harvesting (BMH) is a procedure to remove bone marrow from a bone. Bone marrow is soft, spongy tissue inside your bones. It contains many kinds of blood cells, such as stem cells. Stem cells are able to become other cells, such as white or red blood cells. White blood cells help your body fight infection caused by germs called bacteria. Red blood cells bring oxygen to all parts of your body. Your bone marrow may be put back inside of you or put into someone else, such as a family member or stranger. This is called a bone marrow transplant.
  • Your blood will be checked to make sure that it matches the person who is getting your marrow. You will also have other blood tests to check that you are healthy enough for the procedure. Bone marrow is usually removed from your hipbones or your sternum (chest bone) through a needle. BMH and a bone marrow transplant may help you or someone else make healthier blood cells. New bone marrow may help treat people with cancer, such as leukemia (cancer of the blood). It also may help people make more red blood cells. Healthier white blood cells may help people fight infection and be sick less often.


Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. 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.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Antidepressants: This medicine may help you feel less depressed (very sad). With this medicine, you may feel more positive about yourself and other people.
  • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
  • 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.
  • Vitamins: Your caregiver may want you to take vitamins, such as folic acid and iron. These vitamins help your body make red blood cells. Ask your caregiver for more information about vitamins that he wants you to take.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

  • Your caregiver will check your harvest sites to see if they are healing well. Tell your caregiver about any new signs and symptoms that you have noticed. Your caregiver will give you blood tests to check your blood and see how your body is doing. You may need to return to your caregiver's office for more blood tests many months after your bone marrow harvesting.

Returning to work or activity:

You may not be able to go to work for a few days after the bone marrow harvesting. Ask your caregiver when you can return to work and your other normal daily activities.


  • You have a fever.
  • You feel sick to your stomach or throw up.
  • Your skin near your procedure site is itchy, red, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You feel dizzy, weak, or have the chills.
  • Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.
  • You have pain that does not go away, even with medicine.
  • You feel sadness that does not go away.
  • You have trouble sleeping.
  • You have questions or concerns about your bone marrow harvesting or your medicine.


  • You have swelling or pain in your legs.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have trouble walking.
  • Call 911 or an ambulance if you have any signs of a heart attack:
    • Discomfort in the center of your chest that feels like squeezing, pressure, fullness, or pain, that lasts for more than a few minutes or keeps returning
    • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or one or both of your arms
    • Feeling sick to your stomach
    • Having trouble breathing
    • A sudden cold sweat, particularly in combination with chest discomfort or trouble breathing
    • Feeling very lightheaded or dizzy, particularly in combination with chest discomfort or trouble breathing
  • You have signs of a stroke: The following signs are an emergency. Call 911 immediately if you have any of the following:
    • Weakness or numbness in your arm, leg, or face (may be on only one side of your body)
    • Confusion and problems speaking or understanding speech
    • A very bad headache that may feel like the worst headache of your life
    • Not being able to see out of one or both of your eyes
    • Feeling too dizzy to stand

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 Harvesting (Aftercare Instructions)

Micromedex® Care Notes