Our bone marrow is what makes our blood cells — red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets. Actually it’s “red marrow” which makes them, found in the vertebrae, pelvis, sternum (breastbone), skull, and hips. A bone marrow biopsy obtains a specimen, usually from the pelvis or maybe the sternum. This is sometimes done for patients with Anemia, more commonly in cases of Leukemia, and sometimes for symptoms like fever when diagnosis remains puzzling.
The bone marrow biopsy is not a complicated procedure; it’s done with local anesthesia in the office. Sometimes only bone marrow fluid is needed through a thin needle (“aspiration”), but usually a tiny piece of solid marrow is also obtained through a thick needle. There may be a little pain briefly, more commonly uncomfortable pressure. The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes, except for those few patients who desire IV sedation (rarely necessary).