Bone Marrow Test

I wanted to do a quickie post on what it is like to go through a bone marrow test. If you have not had one, hopefully this will help you if you have to have one too, so that you will know what to expect. Not all clinics do this the same, but this is what the experience was like for me.

When I got to the clinic, the first thing they do is intravenous cannulation, which is inserting a needle into a vein so that they can draw blood or add fluids. Having undergone chemo treatment, finding a vein becomes more difficult with time. It took three tries to get into a vein. They do this at the clinic just in case I have an adverse reaction to the lidocaine that they use to numb the area where they will be doing the test. The cannulation is so that they can add a bag of whatever they use to help with a reaction.

I was then taken into a room, where I had to lay on my stomach. They lifted my shirt and lowered my pants to expose my hips. It is from the hip bone that they will do the test. The attending nurse will inform you of what they will be doing and what to expect.

When the Dr. arrived at the room, he got right underway. He first will insert a needle into the hip area. Now, I will not gloss this over: It hurts. After the first shot, he rubs the skin to help spread the lidocaine. Then he does a second shot. This one is more lidocaine and the needle is inserted into the hip bone. Yup. This hurts too.

The Dr. then makes a slight incision into the hip. Through this incision he will trim a slight piece of bone from the hip. All I felt was a slight pulling sensation. Then comes the most painful part of the procedure: Removing bone marrow. When the needle is inserted into the bone the pain is abrupt, and so painful that I actually screamed. For me the pain of this shot down from my hip to my foot. Not everyone has this reaction, but this is what I experienced. And, it was over.

One helpful thing for me during the entire procedure was deep breathing. The Dr. also told me jokes while doing the procedure, and the angel nurse held my hand.

When they are done they have a number of slides of your bone marrow, and they have the bone isolated in a container with a blue colored fluid.

You are not to get the area wet at all for a period of 48 hours, and you do need to ice the area. This is done 20 minutes on, 10 off. And, taking Ibuprofen is recommended for the pain. Today I have pain in the area that is not too bad, but it does hurt.

Anyway, if you are going to undergo this procedure, I hope that this helps you!

Hugs and be well!


14 thoughts on “Bone Marrow Test

  1. Golly, that sounds awful! I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this – twice! I’ll pray for excellent test results!

  2. Jane … I agree with you that a bone marrow aspiration/biopsy is a painful experience. The pain was within reason until the dr started rotating the syringe to core a section of bone marrow (like coring the trunk of a tree). At this point, the pain was so intense my body was intantly saturated in sweat & I began throwing up. Two weeks later, I was at M D Anderson, and they scheduled me for bilateral (2-one on each side) biopsies BUT, per my request, they knocked me out with “propofol” for the two bone marrows. I was only out for 20 minutes or so & then they were waking me up. I felt fine. There were two bandages on my backside where they had done the biopsies. I rode out in a wheelchair went on to my next scheduled procedure which was a cat scan. I HIGHLY recommend complete sedation if your doctor will do it. Apparently, some people tolerate bone marrows just fine – I do not.

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