Bone marrow aspirations and biopsies are performed to examine bone marrow, the spongy liquid part of the bone where blood cells are made. In a bone marrow aspiration, a small amount of liquid marrow is taken from inside the bone so the cells can be examined under a microscope.
In a bone marrow biopsy, a small piece of intact bone marrow is removed so the structure of the bone marrow inside its bony framework can be examined. Occasionally, only an aspiration is needed; other times, both tests are done. You can also get to know more about bone marrow biopsy and aspiration via https://www.geneticistinc.com/.
The aspiration and biopsy are done by a trained medical practitioner (nurse or doctor) using a small needle inserted into a bone. Usually, the back of the hipbone (iliac crest) is used.
Why It's Done
Doctors perform bone marrow aspirations and biopsies when they're concerned about a problem in the bone marrow. They can help to diagnose:
- the cause of anemia (too few red blood cells, which carry oxygen through the body)
- the cause of thrombocytopenia (too few platelets, which help the blood to clot)
- the cause of an abnormal number of white blood cells, which fight infections
- cancers of the blood, such as leukemia
- whether cancers that started elsewhere have spread to the bone marrow (the assessment of how much cancer has spread is called staging, and is important in determining treatment and prognosis)
- viral, bacterial, or fungal infections in the bone marrow that might be causing lasting fever or other symptoms
- certain genetic diseases (such as lipid storage diseases)
They also may be done to collect a bone marrow sample for procedures (such as a stem cell transplant) or another testing (such as chromosomal analysis).