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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Version 1.2017


Testing for ALL

Bone marrow tests

Figure 5

Bone marrow biopsy

Doctors use a bone marrow

biopsy and aspiration to

remove a sample of bone

marrow for testing. These

tests are often done at the

same time on the hip bone.

Bone marrow tests

Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration

To confirm if you have ALL, a sample of tissue must

be removed from your body for testing. This tissue

might be a blood sample, a biopsy of an enlarged

lymph node or organ, or a sample of bone marrow.

A bone marrow biopsy removes a small piece of solid

bone along with a small amount of soft bone marrow

inside the bone. A bone marrow aspiration removes

a small amount of liquid bone marrow from inside the

bone. Often, both tests are done at the same time

on the back of the hip bone. You will likely lie on your

side during this test.

See Figure 5.

You may be given a light sedative before the test.

Your doctor will then clean the area of skin where

the biopsy will be done. Next, you will receive

local anesthesia to numb the area of skin and

bone beneath. Once numb, a hollow needle will be

inserted into your skin and then pushed into the bone

to remove the liquid bone marrow with a syringe.

Then, a wider needle will be inserted into the bone to

remove the solid bone and marrow sample.

You may feel some pain while the samples are being

removed. Your skin may be bruised for a few days.

The samples will be sent to a lab for testing.

Illustration Copyright © 2017 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.