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Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy: Before Your Child's Procedure

Picture of the face down position for a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy

What is bone marrow aspiration and biopsy?

Bone marrow aspiration is a procedure that takes out a small amount of bone marrow fluid through a needle. Bone marrow biopsy uses a needle to take out a small amount of bone with the marrow inside it. These samples are then checked under a microscope. The hip bone is the most commonly used area for these procedures.

Aspiration and biopsy are often done to find a blood problem or an infection. They also may be used to find out if a cancer has spread to the bone marrow.

Your child will probably get medicine to help them relax before the procedure. The doctor will inject numbing medicine in the skin over the bone. A needle will be put through your child's skin and into the bone to reach the bone marrow. Your child may feel pressure or some dull pain during the procedure. After the doctor takes the sample, the needle will be removed. The doctor may need to take more than one sample. This can come from the same spot or from a different area on your child's body. When the procedure is done, the doctor or a nurse will put pressure on the area to stop any bleeding.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

At the hospital or doctor's office

  • Your child will probably be given medicine to help them relax and to make them more comfortable.
  • A doctor or nurse will give your child medicine to numb the area where the needle will go. Your child may feel pain and hear a crunching sound when the needle enters the bone. This usually lasts only a few seconds. But your child may have some discomfort during the procedure.
  • The procedure will take about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Your child will have a bandage over the area where the doctor put the needle.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare your child for the procedure.
  • Your child becomes ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about your child having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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