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Bone Marrow Examination MCP (Bone Marrow)

Bone Marrow Examination MCP (Bone Marrow)


Red blood cells, most white blood cells, and platelets are produced in the bone marrow, the soft fatty tissue inside bone cavities. Sometimes a sample of bone marrow must be examined to determine why blood cells are abnormal or why there are too few or too many of a specific kind of blood cell. A doctor can take two different types of bone marrow samples:

  • Bone marrow aspirate: Removes fluid and cells by inserting a needle into the bone marrow and sucking out (aspirating) fluid and cells

  • Bone marrow core biopsy: Removes an intact piece of bone marrow using a coring device (similar to a large diameter needle)

The bone marrow aspirate shows what cells, normal and abnormal, are present in the bone marrow and provides information about their size, volume, and other characteristics. Special tests, such as cultures for bacteria, fungi, or viruses, chromosomal analysis, and analysis of cell surface proteins can be done on the sample.

The core biopsy removes an entire piece of bone marrow and shows not only what cells are present but also how full the bone marrow is with cells and where the cells are located within the marrow.

Result explanation

It may take several days or even several weeks to get your bone marrow test results. The results may show whether you have a bone marrow disease, a blood disorder, or cancer. If you are being treated for cancer, the results may show:

  • Whether your treatment is working
  • How advanced your disease is

If your results are not normal, your health care provider will likely order more tests or discuss treatment options. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

Common uses

Bone marrow tests are used to:

  • Find out the cause of problems with red blood cells, white bloods, or platelets
  • Diagnose and monitor blood disorders, such as anemia, polycythemia vera, and thrombocytopenia
  • Diagnose bone marrow disorders
  • Diagnose and monitor certain types of cancers, including leukemia, multiple myeloma, and lymphoma
  • Diagnose infections that may have started or spread to the bone marrow

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