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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy

What is a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy?

We perform bone marrow biopsies to diagnose and monitor a variety of hematologic cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. This procedure may also be used for cancers that have spread to the bone marrow from another area, such as the breast.

A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy involves the removal of a small sample of bone marrow fluid and/or a small amount of bone (typically from the hip or breast bone) through a needle. The bone marrow is the soft, sponge-like tissue inside most bones that produces white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. The sample is then examined under a microscope by a pathologist.

Our cancer doctors may recommend a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy if an abnormality is detected in a patient’s bloodwork. Examining the bone marrow gives more information about the blood cells to determine the stage or progression of the disease and to monitor treatment. We may also perform this procedure to collect a bone marrow sample for a stem cell transplantation.

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Biopsy medical animation