The procedure for bone marrow biopsy involves removal of marrow (a soft tissue) from the inner side of a hollow bone for diagnostic purposes. Though a relatively safe procedure, a patient should know about the risks associated with this procedure. The following article provides information about the various aspects of this procedure.
Bone marrow is the soft and fatty tissue present inside the cavities of nearly all hollow bones. It plays a major role in the formation of blood cells. The bone marrow contains both solid and liquid parts, when the solid part is taken for study it is known as a biopsy. The liquid part is taken out by the process of aspiration. The biopsy is performed for diagnostic purposes.
In most cases, a bone marrow biopsy or trephine biopsy is suggested when there are abnormal readings in the complete blood count (CBC) test. This test may be performed due to abnormality in the white blood cells (WBCs), red blood cells (RBCs), and platelets. The procedure is performed in a doctor’s clinic or in a hospital setting. Refer to the following points to know more about this test.
This biopsy is performed to identify blood disorders, such as anemia, blood infection, leukemia, and bone marrow cancer. People who are suspected to have any of these medical problems are prescribed to undergo a bone marrow biopsy. A patient already diagnosed with cancer may need this test, to examine cancer stages or body responses towards therapeutic medications.
Prior to the test, the doctor will examine the patient’s medical records in order to rule out possible medical risks. The prospective candidate should provide clear medical history about any allergic reaction to drugs, bleeding problem, or previous tests. This will help rule out possible complications, and also help in further preparation of the test. Along with this, the vital signs of the candidate are also measured before the test.
Before extraction of the bone marrow for biopsy, a numbing drug or anesthesia is administered in the needle insertion area (back of hipbone). After this, a biopsy needle is used to collect the sample. In some patients, relaxation medicine is prescribed before the test. After the test, the patient is asked to remain in the same position for about 15 minutes. The doctor will then apply pressure in the needle insertion area to reduce bleeding.
A normal test result reveals normal types and correct number of the hematopoietic cells or blood forming cells, connective tissue, and fat cells. On the other hand, an abnormal result shows very few platelets, low or high RBCs, low or high WBCs, and defected WBCs.
The probable risk factors are pain, mild to severe bleeding at the biopsy needle insertion site, infections (in people with a weakened immune system), and general discomfort. In hypertensive people, the sedative medication may cause allergic reactions, such as itching, nausea, dizziness, and fast heartbeats. However, pain and discomfort will subside gradually.
Fortunately, no serious complications develop during biopsy. Even though there are no serious risks and the recovery rate is fast, the patient needs to sign a consent form before entering the diagnostic lab. Based on the test results, the concerned doctor will diagnose the health condition of the patient (if any) and recommend appropriate treatment.