Bone Marrow Procedure

Your doctor has requested that Genoptix perform testing on your blood or bone marrow.  We treat every sample as if it were one of our own. This is why we take tremendous care with your sample; from the pick-up at your doctor’s office, to tracking en route to our laboratory, through the testing process, and finally to the release of your results to your doctor, Genoptix is committed to providing the highest quality personalized diagnostic services to our physicians and patients like you.

Read more about bone marrow aspiration and biopsy procedures.

  • What is bone marrow?
  • What is a bone marrow procedure?
  • Why are bone marrow procedures done?
  • What is done with my bone marrow sample?
  • What are the risks of a bone marrow procedure?


What is bone marrow?
Bone marrow is soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of bones that produces new blood cells including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. In newborns, all bones have active marrow. In adults, the backbones (vertebrae), hip and shoulder bones, ribs, breastbone, and skull contain marrow that makes blood cells.

What is a bone marrow procedure?
A bone marrow procedure (often referred to as a bone marrow) is a technique to remove a small amount of marrow from the body (usually the hip bone).  A special needle is inserted into the bone that contains marrow, and a sample is withdrawn.  The marrow is then sent to the laboratory to be examined.

Why are bone marrow procedures done?
A bone marrow procedure offers detailed information about the condition of your blood cells. Sometimes, collecting a blood sample through a vein in your arm provides enough information about your health. But if those results are abnormal or don’t offer enough details, you may need further evaluation through an examination of your bone marrow.

A wide variety of conditions can be diagnosed by examination of the bone marrow. The presence or absence of cancer in the bone marrow can determine what treatments are recommended. Another frequent purpose of a bone marrow is to determine the extent of the cancer (also called cancer staging).

What is done with my bone marrow sample?
The bone marrow core is usually placed in a liquid solution that keeps the cells in their natural condition (fixative solution).  The tissue is then sent to a laboratory where it is spread on glass slides, stained, and examined under a microscope by a hematopathologist or pathologist.

What are the risks of a bone marrow procedure?
The feeling of discomfort or pain from a bone marrow procedure will vary from person to person.  Bone marrow exams don't usually pose a big risk. Complications are rare, and those that do occur are often mild.  Talk to your doctor about potential risks of the procedure.