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Bone Marrow Harvesting


What you need to know about bone marrow harvesting:

Bone marrow harvesting is a procedure to remove bone marrow from your bones. Bone marrow may be transplanted into your own body or donated to another person. Bone marrow is usually taken from the pelvis.

How to prepare for bone marrow harvesting:

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. Arrange for someone to drive you home after your procedure.

What will happen during bone marrow harvesting:

You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during the procedure. You may instead be given regional anesthesia. Regional anesthesia numbs the lower part of your body. You will be placed on your stomach. Your healthcare provider will insert a needle that is attached to a syringe into your hip bone. The syringe is used to remove the bone marrow. Your healthcare provider will insert the needle into several areas of your hip bone to get enough bone marrow. A bandage will be placed over the areas where the needle was inserted.

What will happen after bone marrow harvesting:

You may have soreness, bruising, and aching in your hips and lower back for a few days after the procedure. You may also feel tired or weak, or have trouble walking. It may take up to 4 weeks for you to regain all of your strength and feel back to normal.

Risks of bone marrow harvesting:

You may bleed more than expected and get an infection at the needle insertion site. Your blood pressure may get low and cause symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion, or blurred vision.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You feel dizzy or lightheaded, or you have trouble concentrating.
  • You have blurred vision.

Contact your healthcare provider or hematologist if:

  • You have nausea or vomiting.
  • You have a fever, chills, or feel weak and achy.
  • The procedure sites are red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have pain that does not go away, even with pain medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain. 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.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling and pain. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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. You may not be able to go to work for 2 to 3 days after your bone marrow is harvested. Ask when you can return to work and your other daily activities.
  • Care for procedure sites as directed. Keep the areas clean and dry, and check for any signs of infection. These signs include redness, swelling, or pus.
  • Take iron supplements as directed. Iron helps your body make red blood cells. You may need to take these supplements until the number of your red blood cells return to normal.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or hematologist as directed:

You may need to return to have blood tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Learn more about Bone Marrow Harvesting (Ambulatory Care)

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