What Is a Bone Marrow Biopsy?: A Guide to the Purpose and Procedure

Has your doctor told you that you need a bone marrow biopsy?

If you’re familiar with popular medical television shows, this might make you nervous. Anything involving bone marrow looks painful, right?

If you’re not sure what the process entails you might have a lot of anxiety. We want to help put your mind at ease by explaining bone marrow biopsies and bone marrow testing so you know what to expect.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is a Bone Marrow Biopsy?

A bone marrow biopsy is when a doctor takes a sample of your bone marrow. Your bone marrow is the tissue within your bones. While you may think that your bones are solid through and through, the marrow is soft and spongy enough to extract.

This bone marrow contains red blood cells and important stem cells.

The doctor uses local anesthesia to numb the area that they’re going to pull the marrow from. They then use a hollow needle to pierce the bone and pull the marrow out. While it may sound painful to pierce the bone, most people report low to average pain levels (though this varies depending on your individual pain tolerance).

How Should I Prepare?

The first thing that you need to do to prepare yourself for a bone marrow biopsy is relax. Anxiety will make the process worse (and more painful.)

Tell your doctor if you’re experiencing a lot of anxiety so they can administer a mild sedative. If you choose a sedative, make sure that you bring someone along who can drive you home.

You should tell your doctor about any medications that you’re taking or any health problems. You should also tell them if you’re pregnant, or think you might be.

It’s also helpful to prepare for the aftermath. While there aren’t usually side-effects to bone marrow biopsies, you should be careful to keep the area clean and report any significant pain or bleeding to the doctor to ensure that you don’t have an infection.

You may experience some soreness throughout the following week. Avoid strenuous work or exercise for the next few days.

What Is Bone Marrow Testing?

Bone marrow testing helps doctors identify infections, cancers, and other bone marrow related problems. Some tests can tell you about predispositions to disease and telomere length, like those at https://umbrella-scientific.us/. Bone marrow can also be tested to see if you’re a match if you’re looking to donate for a bone marrow transplant.

This test is often the first step towards treatment when you have cancer, though it isn’t always necessary.

Don’t Stress About Your Bone Marrow Biopsy

Biopsies are scary, but you don’t have to worry. An experienced doctor can complete your bone marrow biopsy in under an hour (sometimes as quickly as ten minutes). You won’t experience as much pain as you expect and as long as you don’t opt for sedatives, you can walk right out of the clinic or hospital when you’re done.

Prepare for your bone marrow biopsy and don’t be afraid. You’ve got this.

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