HEALTH TESTS

What is a Bone Marrow Biopsy? An Important Health Diagnostic Tool

A bone marrow test identifies any issues with the marrow

A bone marrow biopsy is an invasive procedure and can hurt

The biopsy is done at the upper ridge of the hip bone

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
November 19th, 2021
8 mins read

The bone marrow is a soft, spongy tissue present inside hollow bones. It contains stem cells and blood vessels that help create new stem cells [1]. This includes red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC), and platelets [2]. The different types of stem cells can also help produce bone cells, cartilage, fat and connective tissue.

A bone marrow biopsy is done in order to identify whether the marrow is functioning properly. A bone marrow sample is either aspirated or biopsied, depending on what part of the marrow is being tested. This sample is then sent to a pathological laboratory, where it is tested to check the level of blood cells and stem cells present in the marrow.

Read on to learn more about a bone marrow biopsy.

What is a bone marrow test?

A bone marrow test identifies issues with a patient’s bone marrow based on information gleaned from the marrow sample. Pathological analysis of the sample is done in order to identify issues. The analysis gives us a detailed result with in-depth information on the status of your marrow and blood cells.

A bone marrow test often consists of two parts: a bone marrow aspiration, and a bone marrow biopsy. While the marrow aspiration is focused on obtaining a sample of the fluid portion of the marrow, the biopsy focuses on the solid portion, i.e. the spongy tissue. They are usually combined in one procedure. However, in some instances the fluid aspiration is done before the tissue biopsy. Many healthcare providers choose to use the same needle for both parts of the test.

Additional Read: Why is it Important to Know When Your WBC Count is High or Low?

How is a bone marrow biopsy done?

There are two kinds of marrow in your body: red and yellow. A bone marrow test is done with red marrow. Red marrow is found in flat, hollow bones. For adults, the hip bone or the vertebrae are common areas where red marrow is found. Hence, a bone marrow biopsy is usually done from the hip.

The procedure starts with you being given local anesthesia at the site of the test. This is usually the back of the hip bone. You may also opt for IV sedation. A medical professional will also check your blood pressure and heart rate beforehand. Usually, this procedure is done by a hematologist or oncologist.

After this, a hollow needle is inserted into the bone. This is done at the top ridge of the hip bone. Sometimes it may be done at the breastbone or the lower leg bone for toddlers under 18 months. Then the marrow is drawn into the syringe, which can be either the aspirated fluid or the biopsy tissue sample. If both are being tested, aspiration is done first. For the tissue sample, a larger needle may be required.

Due to the invasive nature of this test, patients tend to experience pain during and after the procedure. Hence, in addition to local anesthesia, IV sedation is also given [3]. This is an option for people who feel anxious or have a low threshold for pain tolerance. After the test is done, the pain reduces. There may still be some amount of discomfort present, which may last for up to a day. It is recommended to keep the area dry and away from water for 24 hours.

Additional Read: RBC Count Test: Why is it Important and What is the RBC Normal Range?

Why is bone marrow test done?

A bone marrow test can be ordered by your physician for a variety of reasons. The test results can shed light on quite a few points:

  • It shows whether the bone marrow is healthy. This includes understanding whether the marrow is creating a normal level of blood cells, like WBCs, RBCs, and platelets.
  • It can identify the level of iron in the blood, helping detect genetic disorders like hemochromatosis.
  • It can identify cancer, anemia, lymphoma, and various blood cell-related ailments.
  • It can provide information on RBC and WBC count and production, including their individual levels in the body.
  • In case of an existing disorder or disease, it can support the evaluation and diagnosis. This helps to create a specific treatment plan, or modify an existing one.

As you can see, a bone marrow test is an important diagnostic tool. If you need to get a bone marrow test done for yourself or your loved ones, get it done as soon as possible. This way, you can either rule out a disorder or start an appropriate course of treatment. Book health tests on Bajaj Finserv Health and get your test done promptly. You can even find specialists, hospitals near you, and the bone marrow test cost in just a few clicks.

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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