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What is bone marrow aspiration?

Q: What is bone marrow aspiration? I want to know about the entire procedure.

A:Bone marrow aspiration is an invasive test in which a needle is inserted into a part of the hip bone and a few ml of cells taken into a syringe. These cells are then spread on a slide, stained and examined under a microscope. The cells may also be used for special tests like flow cytometry, cytogenetics, culture, etc. depending on the reason for which the test is performed. Often a small piece of bone too is taken (called bone marrow biopsy). Bone marrow examination is usually done as a part of work-up of a haematologic (blood) disease. It may also be done in cases of prolonged fever which may be due to fungal or some parasitic infection, some types of cancer, metabolic diseases, etc. Complications from a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy are very rare and include infection and bleeding at the site. The decision to do a marrow examination is guided by the history and examination of the patient along with the peripheral blood findings.

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