Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Bone Marrow Aspirate and Biopsy

What is bone marrow? 

The soft material in the centre of certain bones is the bone marrow. The marrow contains different types of cells that give rise to red cells, white cells and platelets.

What is a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy? 

It is a procedure to obtain bone marrow and the surrounding bone for examination in the laboratory. 

Why do I need this procedure? 

Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy is usually performed (i) to diagnose various conditions that affect the different types of blood cells; (ii) to diagnose certain cancers; or (iii) to determine the extent of the cancer (cancer staging).

What does this procedure involve? 

The site of aspiration and biopsy is usually in the hip bone just above your buttock area. You will be lying down during the procedure, either on your left or right side, with your knees bent. Alternative sites may include the sternum (breast bone) for bone marrow aspiration. For sternal aspiration, you will be lying flat on your back. The aspiration and biopsy site will be cleaned and local anaesthesia administered prior to the procedure. A special needle will be inserted into the bone to obtain marrow for marrow aspiration and a core of bone for bone marrow biopsy. 

What precautions must I take for this procedure? 

Your doctor will inform you of the bleeding risks based on your illness, blood tests and the medications that you are taking.

Please inform your doctor if you have any medical illnesses. Before the procedure, please inform your doctor if any of the following are applicable:

  1. A history of allergy or reaction to any medications, drugs, or food
  2. A history of bleeding or clotting disorders 
  3. You are taking drugs (e.g. aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin, and rivaroxaban) or supplements (e.g. cordyceps, ginkgo biloba, and lingzhi) that thin your blood, as these substances may affect blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. If you are taking any of these, your doctor will advise you accordingly.