I’ve been thinking too much about the biopsy on Friday, and making myself nervous. I’m the kind of person who feels more comfortable with situations when I fully understand them, or can explain them fully to someone else – so please bare with me while I do that now with regard to bone marrow biopsies/aspirations 🙂
A bone marrow biopsy is used as diagnostic criteria for blood, and or bone marrow diseases, and some cancers. Typically the sample will be drawn from either the pelvic, or the breast bone.
The bone marrow aspiration is typically performed before the biopsy is done. This is performed by inserting a needle into the bone, and using a syringe to withdraw some liquid marrow. Another needle will be used for the biopsy portion of the event.
The biopsy itself involves the removal of the solid portion of bone marrow. This is done using a larger gauge needle. Once the large needle has been inserted into the bone, the center of the needle is removed, and the hollowed portion is pushed deeper into the bone. This hollow section of needle is what captures the sample of core, or marrow required for testing.
A wide variety of diseases can be diagnosed using these tests, including but not limited to a plethora of types of leukemia, or lymphoma, multiple myeloma, my personal favorite (just kidding…) essential thrombocytosis, myelofibrosis (What we’re on the lookout for) and myelodysplastic syndrome.
Now, here’s where I start getting amused. The information I’m using for source material (which I will cite at the end of this article, I promise) was undoubtedly written by someone who has never experienced this test. Under the “How the test will feel” section…they say “you MAY feel a brief, sharp pain when the liquid (aspirate) is removed”…to me that was kind of like when the gynecologist says “Now just a little pressure now…” (my gynecologist is a guy…pretty sure he doesn’t actually have a clue what a speculum feels like…) but back to the subject….As someone who has had this done without anesthetic, I can assure you it was NOT brief. It was a LONG sharp pain, which seemed to radiate down my legs, and up my spine.
Thankfully I will be receiving some anesthesia/pain relief for this test. OK…I’ll end now with this little info picture for anyone who may be curious about the anatomy of your bone marrow 🙂
As always, you are your own best advocate. If you do not take care of yourself, who will?
Until next time,