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Fellowships: Hematopathology Fellowship
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Journal Articles Elsevier Ambassador Blog. Other tests may also be done on your bone marrow samples. Bone marrow biopsy might be done for people with many types of lymphoma. If lymphoma cells are in your bone marrow, it might affect what treatment you need. A bone marrow biopsy might also be done as part of diagnosing some types of lymphoma that often affect the bone marrow or blood.
If lymphoma is found in your bone marrow, you might need another bone marrow biopsy in the future to check your response to treatment. Not everyone with lymphoma needs a bone marrow biopsy. Your doctor decides what tests you need based on your individual circumstances.
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Most people who need a bone marrow biopsy have the procedure as an outpatient and do not have to stay in hospital overnight. You should be given information about the procedure and how to prepare for it.
You might have blood tests before your procedure to check that your blood clots normally. Tell your medical team about any medicines, vitamins and other supplements you are taking, or if you have had any reactions to anaesthetics before. If you are taking medicine to thin your blood, you may be asked to stop this before the procedure. If you feel very anxious, or you found a previous biopsy painful, you might be able to have a sedative to help you relax for the procedure.
Sedatives are only available in certain circumstances and in certain centres. They are not recommended for everyone. Gas and air gives short-acting pain relief that you breathe in yourself when you need it. Discuss the options with your medical team when the test is being planned.
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If you are not having sedation, you can eat and drink as normal before the test. If you are having sedation, your medical team can advise you if you need to stop eating or drinking for a time before the test. Bone marrow biopsies are usually taken from your pelvis hip bone.
You are usually asked to lie on your side and curl up, with your knees pulled up towards your chest. Rarely, the sample is taken from the sternum breastbone. In this case, you lie on your back.
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Make sure you are comfortable when you are in the correct position — you need to keep as still as possible during the procedure. The doctor cleans the area then injects a local anaesthetic to numb it. When the area is numb, the doctor inserts a special needle into the space in the middle of the bone and takes a sample of the bone marrow fluid.
A second needle is used to take a sample of the harder bone marrow tissue. The needle is removed when the sample has been collected. The doctor or nurse puts a dressing over the area where the needles were inserted. You need to stay lying down for 15—30 minutes after the procedure to be monitored to make sure there is no bleeding.
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You might then be asked to rest in the waiting room and have a drink before you go home. If you have had a sedative, you will be drowsy for a few hours afterwards. You should not drive home or travel on your own — bring someone with you who can take you home. Do not drive or operate machinery for the rest of the day.
The local anaesthetic wears off after 2—3 hours and the area where the needle was inserted can be sore. If you are uncomfortable, take pain relief such as paracetamol regularly over the next few days. Ask your medical team for advice if you need stronger pain relief or if the pain continues for more than a few days. Keep your dressing on for at least 24 hours or until any bleeding has stopped. Do not get the dressing or sample site wet during this time.