What is Bone Marrow Aspiration?

This a medical procedure wherein a sample is taken from the soft tissue inside the bones. Bone marrow inside larger bones – such as your ribs, skull, hips, breastbone and spine – contain a combination of platelets and white and red blood cells.

Inside the Marrow

Each one of the following three components perform important functions. Your red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients to all parts of your body while white blood cells fight off diseases and infections in your system. Platelets help control bleeding and blood clot.

Diagnoses and Treatments

To make sure the cells are developing right, a bone marrow aspiration or bone marrow biopsy is performed to remove a sample of the bone marrow. This helps physicians make accurate diagnoses. Through the medical procedure, doctors can see if the sample shows signs of blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma and fevers of unknown causes. Signs of stem cell problems as well as rare genetic diseases can be found, says Cancer. By knowing what they’re dealing with, physicians are able to accurately prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Preparation

If you’re going to undergo the procedure, make sure you talk to your doctor about any of the medication or blood thinners you’re taking. You might need to refrain from taking them a few days before and after the procedure. Normally, there aren’t any restrictions involving eating and drinking but you might need to verify that with your doctor, especially if there are other medical procedures you might need to take.

During the Procedure

The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes. The doctor will administer an anesthetic to block the pain. Inform your doctor if you’re allergic to anesthetic beforehand so they can provide you with pain relievers or sedatives instead.

After the Procedure

If you were sedated, you’ll need to stay put for about another 20 minutes until the effects of the drug wear off. You’ll need someone to take you home, too, so be sure to have someone with you. For more information, talk to a bone marrow aspiration doctor near you.

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