Mar 18, 2016
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Bone Marrow Test – Reasons, Risks, Results, Procedure and Preparation

Bone Marrow Test

Just like any other organ, even the well-being of your bone marrow is detectable only with a Bone Marrow Test. It is not a common test and so most probably, you may not be familiar with it. So first, you need to understand what this test implies and then you may further read everything about it!

A bone marrow analysis helps understanding the health status of the bone marrow in the body. The main reason for performing this analysis is to check that whether the marrow is releasing normal amount of blood cells or not. Now you must be wondering what a bone marrow actually is? Well, it is a sponge-like tissue present inside the bone. It includes stem cells that advances into three forms of blood cells, which the body needs for performing various functions:

  • Platelets that prevent bleeding.
  • White Blood Cells that fight infection.
  • Red Blood Cells that carry oxygen in the body.

This analysis helps find out blood disorders and even to detect cancer or any other severe infection.

Reasons for performing the test

This test procedure involves two steps – Aspiration and Biopsy. The major reasons for getting this test done are plenty, like:

To detect blood disorders, like certain anemias, leukemia, or issues that affect the bone marrow, like polycythemia vera or multiple myeloma. In addition to this, this test helps analyzing the problems with white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets in individuals, who face critical disorders such as anemia, thrombocytopenia, and abnormal count of white blood cells. It helps detecting cancer, like Hodgkin lymphoma or other disorder, which attacks the bone marrow. Finally, the test supports detecting the best treatment for bone marrow troubles.

Bone Marrow Biopsy and Aspiration

The biopsy removes a small portion of the bone and a small amount of liquid fluid and cells from the bone. While the aspiration test, on the other hand, removes only a small portion of the liquid fluid. The procedure for two may vary and is done in varying ways. During the bone marrow aspiration process, a small amount of liquids is removed from the bone with help of a needle. The fluid is tested to check for problems in the bone marrow. It helps exploring the problems in chromosomes.

Specialists like hematologist, internist, medical oncologist, or pathologist perform this test. To execute the process, they collect a sample of blood and then go for the further testing procedure.

Preparing for the test

Since, it is an important test, so it is essential for you to prepare for it. Even your doctor will make you sign a consent to agree that only you are responsible, if in case, there are complications met during the test. You need to tell your doctor for any kinds of medicines, which you consume, before going for the test. In addition to this, you should also tell him about any allergy or complication that you are suffering from. If you are pregnant then this is the first thing to inform your health practitioner. Lastly, if you have any bleeding troubles, or consume blood thinners, like aspirin, warfarin, or clopidogrel, then all this need to be informed to the doctor in advance.

Risks Associated with Bone Marrow Test

There are possibilities of not meeting severe risks with the bone marrow test. However, the examination may result into few complications like:

  • Skin infection or infection in the bone at the biopsy site (osteomyelitis).
  • You may encounter heavy bleeding during the biopsy site. People who have bleeding issues have more chances of meeting this issue. If such a situation occurs, then the pressure needs to be put into the biopsy site for at least 10 minutes. In severe cases, you may be given.
  • The test may also result to an injury of lungs or heart, or of any major nerve from which the sample is collected. Although, it is a rare complication, but still it is essential to stay attentive both during and after the test.

What does the test results explain?

The bone marrow test removes a small proportion of cells and fluid from the bone marrow and test to diagnose various kinds of blood disorder. Just like any other test, even this can result to different results, such as:

Normal – An individual may obtain normal end-results when the marrow includes normal amount of fats, iron, and connective tissue. In such situation, a person possesses normal numbers of immature and mature bone marrow cells. There is no form of infection, and even, no sign of presence of cancer cells, like lymphoma, leukemia, or multiple myeloma.

Abnormal – The test may result to abnormal consequences if there are one or more of such problems are present. If there is too much or too little volume of iron within the bone marrow. Besides this, if there is infection present in the bone marrow, or the structure do not appear normal, or there is presence of cancer cells, like lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and more. In case scar tissue replaces the bone marrow then also such a situation can occur.

It is a complicated test, but you may not be able to undergo through it, if incase, you face heavy bleeding problems or you are consuming blood thinners, like clopidogrel, warfarin, or aspirin. Moreover, there are situations when there is not enough amount of bone marrow liquid present inside the body. It is called as dry tap, and in such situation, the bone marrow test is performed only via biopsy as the process of aspiration is not able to reveal adequate results.

If you are continuously facing problems and infection within your body, then a sensitivity or a culture test of the bone marrow can provide adequate results. If, for instance, the infection is caused by bacteria then the bone marrow test can help the doctor to identify, which type of medication will best treat the infection. If, in case, you still have any confusions then it is best to discuss about them with your doctor, before you finally opt to go for the examination procedure.

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