Childr Health Information

Bone Marrow Aspiration Test

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Topic: Tests & Procedures

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about a bone marrow aspiration test. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse practitioner to go over any information you do not understand.

What is a bone marrow aspiration?

Bone marrow is the spongy material found in the center of many bones in the body. The different cells that make up blood are made in the bone marrow. A bone marrow aspiration test is done to see if the blood cells are being made properly.

Is my child given anesthesia for this test?

Your child will be given something to make them relax, if you and your child choose it. Your child may or may not be asleep and may or may not be able to talk while sedated. To prepare your child for this test, he or she should not have any solid food 10 hours before the test and only clear liquids up to 4 hours before the procedure. Your child should have nothing to eat or drink 4 hours before the test. If breastfeeding and your child is less than 6 months old, stop breast feeding 6 hours before the procedure. If breastfeeding and your child is older than 6 months, stop breastfeeding 8 hours before the procedure.

How is the test done?

  • At least 1 hour before the bone marrow aspiration test, EMLA (a numbing cream) will be placed on the hipbone.
  • Your child will be taken to the treatment room. Leads will temporarily be placed on the skin in order to watch the heart rate and the respiratory rate.
  • Sedation medications will be given to help your child relax and decrease pain. These medications may also provide amnesia about the procedure.
  • Your child will be asked to lie down on his or her stomach or side and a nurse will help him or her to hold very still.
  • The bone marrow site will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. This may feel cold. After the skin is washed well, sterile towels will be placed around the clean area where the bone marrow test will be done.
  • A small amount of numbing medicine will be injected into the skin so the test will not hurt as much. This may sting a little at first. It takes 1 to 2 minutes for the area to become numb.
  • After the area is numb, a needle is placed in the bone and a small amount of bone marrow is pulled up into a syringe. During this part of the test, your child may feel pressure or pain for an instant or a cramp in the leg.
  • The needle is then withdrawn.
  • If a bone marrow biopsy is required, a second special needle is used to remove a piece of the bone marrow to look at the appearance of the bone marrow and the amount of cells present (cellularity). The biopsy is usually done before the bone marrow aspiration.

What does my child have to do after the test is over?

  • Pressure is applied to the site for 1 to 2 minutes after the test.
  • A pressure dressing is then applied, which should stay on for at least 24 hours.
  • The doctor will explain the laboratory results to you and let you know what the plan of treatment will be as soon as the results are available.

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bone marrow aspiration test, please ask your child’s doctor or nurse practitioner.


Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Preparado: 1999
Corregido: 2004, 2007, 2010
Revisado: 2001, 2007

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Formulated: 1999
Revised: 2004, 2007, 2010
Reviewed: 2001, 2007


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