Bone marrow biopsy and bone marrow aspiration are procedures to collect and examine bone marrow — the spongy tissue inside some of your larger bones. Bone marrow biopsy and bone marrow aspiration can show whether your bone marrow is healthy and making normal amounts of blood cells. Doctors use bone marrow biopsy and aspiration to diagnose and monitor blood and marrow diseases, including some cancers.

Bone marrow has a fluid portion and a more solid portion. In bone marrow aspiration, your doctor uses a needle to withdraw a sample of the fluid portion. In a bone marrow biopsy, a larger needle is used to take a sample of the solid part.

Bone marrow biopsy and bone marrow aspiration are often done at the same time. Together, bone marrow biopsy and aspiration may be called a bone marrow exam.

Dec. 13, 2011