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Bone Marrow Harvesting


Bone marrow harvesting is a procedure to remove bone marrow from your bones to be used for transplantation. Bone marrow is usually taken from the hip or sternum (breastbone). Your bone marrow may be put back inside of you, or donated to someone else.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Anesthesia: This medicine is given to make you comfortable. You may not feel discomfort, pressure, or pain. An adult will need to drive you home and should stay with you for 24 hours. Ask your caregiver if you can drive or use machinery within 24 hours. Also ask if and when you can drink alcohol or use over-the-counter medicine. You may not want to make important decisions until 24 hours have passed.
    • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
    • Regional anesthesia: Medicine is injected to numb the body area where the surgery or procedure will be done. You will remain awake during the surgery or procedure.
    • Local anesthesia: This is medicine to make you comfortable during your procedure. It is used to numb the area and dull your pain. You may still feel pressure or pushing during your procedure.

During your procedure:

Your caregiver will put a needle attached to a syringe into your hipbone or breastbone. Your bone marrow is suctioned into the syringe and then placed into a collection bag. Your caregiver may need to move the needle to another part of your bone to get more marrow. Your caregiver may turn you over to get marrow from the other side of your body. Bandages may be put on the sites where the harvests are made. Your caregiver will decide if you need a blood transfusion.

After your procedure:

Caregivers will watch you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. You may be allowed to go home or taken to your hospital room after your caregiver says it is okay.

  • Bone marrow: Your bone marrow may be transplanted into someone else right away. It also may be frozen so that you or someone else can use it later. If you have cancer, the bone marrow may be treated with radiation or chemotherapy to kill any cancer cells.
  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken for tests to check your red blood cells.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease severe pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more pain medicine.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting.
  • Iron: You may need iron through your IV to help your bone marrow make red blood cells.


  • You may need to have this procedure more than once. A needle may break inside of you during your procedure. You may have nausea or vomiting, or feel more tired than usual. Your blood pressure may get low and make you dizzy. You may have a rash, bruising, infection, or numbness near the injection sites. You may have trouble concentrating, and it may be hard for you to sleep. Your body may feel stiff, weak, or you may have trouble walking.
  • You may have severe pain in your hips, back, breastbone, and legs. You may lose too much blood and need a blood transfusion. Some of your blood vessels may become swollen. Air or bone tissue may block blood vessels in your heart, lungs, or brain. This could lead to a heart attack, breathing problems, or a stroke. This can be life-threatening. If you have cancer, it can get worse without bone marrow harvesting. It may be hard for your body to recover from other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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 (Inpatient Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes