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Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy: What to Expect at Home

Your Recovery

The biopsy site may feel sore for several days. You may have a bruise on the site. This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible. Your doctor or nurse will call you with the results of your test.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Do light activities such as walking, unless you are told otherwise.
  • Eat your normal diet, unless you are told otherwise.
  • Most people are able to return to work the day after the procedure.

Caring for your biopsy site

  • Check your biopsy site every day until it heals.
  • Keep the bandage dry. You can take the bandage off after 24 hours.
  • You may shower after 24 hours.
  • Do not soak in a bathtub or hot tub or go swimming until the biopsy site is healed (about 5 days) or until your doctor says you can.
  • If you are bleeding from the biopsy site, apply firm pressure on the area for at least 30 minutes

Medicines

  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if and when to start taking it again.
  • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
  • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care.

Call the contact centre number you were given or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have bright red bleeding from the biopsy site that does not stop after 30 minutes of holding direct pressure on the site.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness at the biopsy site.
    • Red streaks leading from the biopsy site.
    • Yellow or green drainage from the biopsy site.
    • A fever (temperature over 38.0°C (100.4°F)) chills, or both.

If you cannot reach your contact centre, go to the nearest emergency department.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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