Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy: Before Your Procedure

Main Content

Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy: Before Your 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 often 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. The procedure can also be done to collect bone marrow for medical procedures, such as stem cell transplant or chromosomal analysis.

You may get medicine to help you relax before the procedure. The doctor will inject numbing medicine in the skin over your bone. A needle will be put through your skin and into your bone to reach the bone marrow. You 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 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

  • A doctor or nurse will give you medicine to numb the area where the needle will go. You may feel pain and hear a crunching sound when the needle enters your bone. This usually lasts only a few seconds. But you may have some discomfort during the procedure.
  • The procedure will take about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • You 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 for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter Y063 in the search box to learn more about "Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy: Before Your Procedure".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.