Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.Learn More
Bone marrow is a soft, spongy material that is in the center of most of the body’s bones. Bone marrow works like a blood cell factory. It makes blood-forming (hematopoietic) cells, the parents of all other blood cells. They mature into cells that eventually become:
Bone marrow aspiration (sometimes called bone marrow aspirate) and biopsy are tests performed to examine a patient’s bone marrow.
Bone marrow aspirations and biopsies may help:
Many patients will have an aspiration and biopsy at the same time. Sometimes patients only have a bone marrow aspiration.
Bone marrow has a liquid portion and a more solid portion. The liquid portion is removed during an aspiration. The solid portion is removed during a biopsy.
Your child will likely receive medicine to help them sleep during the procedure.
If your child receives a medicine to help them sleep, they must follow rules for eating and drinking before having the test. If your child does not follow the rules about food and drink, the procedure will have to be rescheduled.
If your child does not have a central line or port, they will receive the medicine through an IV.
A member of your child’s care team typically performs a bone marrow aspiration. A small sample of bone marrow is removed using a thin, hollow needle attached to a syringe.
The total time for both procedures is usually about 30 minutes.
A member of your child’s care team will update you about the procedure after it is completed.
You will receive the results from a member of your child’s care team later.
Reviewed: October 2022