Bone marrow aspirationDefinition:
Bone marrow is the tissue that makes blood cells. It is found in the hollow part of most bones. Bone marrow aspiration is the removal of this tissue for examination.
Alternative Names: Iliac crest tap; Sternal tap
How the test is performed:
The health care provider will take the bone marrow from your pelvic or breast bone. (Occasionally, another bone is selected.) First, the area is cleaned with a germ-killing medicine, then numbing medicine (local anesthesia) is applied.
Next, the health care provider inserts a special needle into the bone. The needle has a tube attached to it, which creates suction. A small sample of bone marrow fluid flows into the tube. The needle is removed.
A laboratory specialist looks at the bone marrow fluid under a microscope.
How to prepare for the test:
No special preparation is necessary for this test.
How the test will feel:
There will be a prick and a slight burning sensation with the local anesthetic. Pressure may be felt as the needle is inserted into the bone. There is a sharp sucking sensation as the marrow is aspirated, which lasts for only a few moments.
Why the test is performed:
This test is used to diagnose leukemia, infections, some types of anemia , and other blood disorders. It may help determine if cancers have spread.
The marrow should contain blood-forming (hematopoietic) cells, fat cells, and connective tissues.
What abnormal results mean:
Abnormal results may be due to:
What the risks are:
There may be some bleeding at the puncture site. More serious risks, such as serious bleeding or infection, are very rare.
Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 4th ed. Orlando, Fl: Churchill Livingstone; 2005:2656-2657.
Behrman RE. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 17th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2004; 1695-1697.
|Review Date: 3/9/2007|
Reviewed By: Mark Levin, MD, Hematologist and Oncologist, Newark, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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