Bone Marrow Biopsy - Post Procedure Instruction

What can I expect immediately after the bone marrow biopsy?

If you have received sedation medication for the biopsy you may feel drowsy for a short period of time. During this time it is important that you avoided driving or operating heavy machinery.

NOTE: If you have received sedation for the procedure you are advised not to drive home following the procedure. You may be discharged from the hospital only when you have fully recovered from the sedation.

Will the biopsy be painful afterwards?

Your doctor will use local anaesthetic during the procedure making the area around the biopsy numb. The local anaesthetic works for a number of hours after the procedure. After the local anaesthetic wears off there may be some discomfort and minor pain at the site of the procedure. Oral pain medication (e.g. Panadol) is usually all that is required to treat this pain. If you find the pain after the procedure particularly difficult to control you should contact the doctor who has performed the procedure.

How do I care for the biopsy site?

Wound and Dressing Care

The doctor performing the biopsy procedure typically makes a very small (2 to 3 mm) skin incision (cut) at the site of the biopsy. This small incision typically heals very quickly and does not require any stitches. Your doctor will place a dressing on this skin incision. This dressing is typically waterproof and you should take this dressing off 1 – 2 days after the procedure (this is often easier in the shower) and inspect the area. After the dressing is removed you can put a Band-Aid on the incision site (particularly if you find your clothing rubs on the the area).

How long will it take for the biopsy site to heal?

The small skin incision will begin to heal immediately. The biopsy is performed with a slightly bigger needle that is used compared to normal blood tests. This larger needle is needed to enter the bone at the back of the hip. After the biopsy the hole in the bone will immediately begin to heal and it is expected complete healing will have occurred within 1 to 2 weeks.

How long does it take for the results of the biopsy?

A bone marrow biopsy typically takes 2 to 4 working days to fully process and for the results of these tests to reach your doctor. Sometimes there are additional tests done on the bone marrow material that can take a number of weeks.

Where can I get more information about the bone marrow test?

A suggested video showing a bone marrow biopsy being performed is available to view on the Melbourne Haematology website. This video was produced by the University of Leicester Medical School as a clinical teaching tool and may give you some idea of what a bone marrow test involves (also referred to here as a bone marrow aspiration and core biopsy). Doctors vary somewhat in the way they approach doing a bone marrow biopsy.


Additional Information

Video Showing a Bone Marrow Aspiration and Core Biopsy

This video was produced by the University of Leicester Medical School as a clinical teaching tool and may give you some idea of what a bone marrow test involves (also referred to here as a bone marrow aspiration and core biopsy). Doctors vary somewhat in the way they approach doing a bone marrow biopsy.


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