Bone marrow is the soft tissue inside bones that helps produce blood cells which include white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Bone marrow aspiration / biopsy is a procedure that involves taking a sample from the soft tissue inside the bones. In aspiration, we removes a small amount of marrow in liquid form for examination, while biopsy involves the removal of small quantity of the soft spongy tissue.

This procedures will be performed by our consultant haematologist who is a doctor who specializes in blood disorders

The bone marrow exam typically takes about 10 minutes. Extra time is needed for preparation and post-procedure care. The total time for the procedure is about 30 minutes. You'll be fully awake during the procedure, but the aspiration and biopsy site will be numbed to reduce pain using a local anaesthesia

Our pathology laboratory that receives the marrow sample will check to see if the bone marrow is making healthy blood cells. If not, the results will show the cause, which may be an infection, bone marrow disease, or cancer. This test looks for abnormalities in your blood cells and signs of any diseases

Why Bone Marrow Aspiration/Biopsy is performed Numerous conditions are associated with unhealthy bone marrow. If preliminary blood tests show low levels of white or red blood cells or platelets, your doctor may order a bone marrow aspiration. The test is used to check for disease as well as to monitor the progression or treatment of a specific disease.

Conditions and diseases related to bone marrow problems include:
  • anaemia, which is a low red blood cell count
  • bone marrow diseases, such as myelofibrosis or myelodysplastic syndrome
  • blood cell conditions, such as leukopenia or polycythemia
  • cancers of the bone marrow or blood, such as leukemia or lymphoma
  • hemochromatosis, which is a genetic disorder in which iron builds in the blood
  • infection, especially chronic diseases like tuberculosis
  • storage diseases, such as amyloidosis or Gaucher’s disease
Bone marrow aspiration can also be an important test if you're having cancer treatment. It can help determine if the cancer has spread to the bones.

What Are the Risks Associated with a Bone Marrow Aspiration?

Bone marrow exams are safe, but all medical procedures carry some type of risk. In rare instances (1%), the following complications are possible:
  • an allergic reaction to Local anaesthesia
  • excessive bleeding
  • an infection
The risks are rare and most often associated with conditions that cause a weakened immune system or low platelet count.