Bone Marrow Aspiration Test

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Bone marrow is the spongy material found in the center of many bones in the body. The different cells that make up blood are made in the bone marrow. A bone marrow aspiration test is done to see if the blood cells are being made properly. A bone marrow biopsy may be done. In a biopsy, a small amount of tissue is taken to be looked at under a microscope.

Before the Test

Before the test your child will be examined. Blood may need to be drawn and tested before your child can have this procedure.

The test will be scheduled in the surgery center, main operating room, or the procedure center.

Your child will have IV sedation or anesthesia for the procedure. This means your child will be given medicine to make him or her relax or sleep through the test.

The test will be done by a health care provider who is an expert in hematology (blood) or oncology (cancer).

During the Test

The bone marrow site will be cleaned with a germ killing liquid (antiseptic solution). After the skin is washed well, sterile towels will be placed around the clean area where the bone marrow test will be done. 

A needle is placed into the bone and a small amount of bone marrow is pulled up into a syringe. For the bone marrow biopsy a different needle is inserted and a tiny piece of the bone is removed. Then the needle is taken out and the test is over.

After the Test

After the test, pressure is applied to the site and a pressure dressing (bandage) is applied. Your child will go to the recovery area and be checked frequently. 

  • This dressing should stay on for 24 hours and be checked often.
  • Your child should not take a tub bath or shower while the dressing is in place.
  • After 24 hours, remove the dressing.
  • Your child may go back to normal activity when any effects of the medicine are gone.

The bone marrow or bone fragment that has been collected will be studied under a microscope and sent for other tests as indicated. Your child’s doctor will review the test results with you and discuss the plan of treatment.

Bone Marrow Aspiration Test (PDF)

HH-III-16 3/77, Revised 1/16 Copyright 1977, Nationwide Children's Hospital