Your doctor will give you pain and sedative medications as needed so you stay as relaxed and comfortable. Tell your doctor if your discomfort lasts more than a moment.
What are the risks and potential complications of bone marrow biopsy?
Complications after bone marrow biopsy are uncommon, but any procedure involves risks and potential complications. Complications may become serious in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or recovery.
Risks and potential complications of bone marrow biopsy include:
- Adverse reaction or problems related to sedation or medications, such as an allergic reaction and problems with breathing
Reducing your risk of complications
You can reduce the risk of some complications by following your treatment plan and:
- Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before your procedure and during recovery
- Informing your doctor if you are nursing or there is any possibility of pregnancy
- Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, or increase in pain
- Taking your medications exactly as directed
- Telling all members of your care team if you have any allergies
How do I prepare for my bone marrow biopsy?
You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before your procedure can improve your comfort and help your doctor obtain the most accurate test results.
You can prepare yourself for bone marrow biopsy by:
- Answering all questions about your medical history and medications. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
- Learning about the procedure and asking any questions you may have.
- Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. This may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners.
Questions to ask your doctor
Having a bone marrow biopsy can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before a bone marrow biopsy and between appointments.
It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Common questions include:
- Why do I need bone marrow biopsy? Are there any other options for diagnosing my condition?
- How long will the procedure take? When can I go home?
- What restrictions will I have after the procedure? When can return to work and other activities?
- What kind of assistance will I need at home? Will I need a ride home?
- How should I take my medications?
- How will you treat my pain?
- When and how will I get the results of my test?
- What other tests might I need?
- When should I follow up with you?
- How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours.
What can I expect after my bone marrow biopsy?
Knowing what to expect after bone marrow biopsy can help you get back to your everyday life as soon as possible.
How will I feel after the bone marrow biopsy?
You might feel a little drowsy if you had sedative and pain medications. You may have mild soreness, tenderness or pain in the area where the biopsy needle was inserted. Take pain medications only as directed by your doctor. You may not be able to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) if you have a bleeding disorder or some other conditions.
When can I go home?
You can generally go home when any bleeding from the biopsy site has stopped, in about 10-15 minutes. Bleeding is generally minimal.
You will need to stay in the outpatient facility or hospital for a little longer if you have sedation. You will go home when you are fully alert, breathing effectively, and your vital signs are stable. This generally takes less than an hour, depending on the type of sedation you had.
You will be drowsy for about 24 hours after sedation and cannot drive during this time. You will need a ride home from your procedure, and someone should stay with you for the first day.
When should I call my doctor?
It is important to keep your follow-up appointments after bone marrow biopsy. Contact your doctor for questions and concerns between appointments. Call your doctor right away or seek immediate medical care if you have:
- Drainage from the site
- New or unexplained symptoms
- Pain that is not controlled by your pain medication, new pain, or increase in pain
- Rash or skin irritation of the biopsy site
- Swelling, warmth or redness of the biopsy site