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Marrow Aspirate FAQs


Is a bone marrow aspirate painful?

Patients often confuse a bone marrow aspirate with a more involved and more painful bone marrow biopsy. We only perform the less involved and much more comfortable bone marrow aspirate. Because we extensively numb the area, about 8 in 10 patients say that the marrow draw is very comfortable and would do it again.

What about the patients who thought the marrow aspirate was painful?

If you have a history of chronic low back pain, more discomfort can be expected. In that case, the doctor may offer you an epidural injection to better numb the area.

How long does a marrow aspirate take?

20-40 minutes

How is a marrow aspirate performed?

The skin and tissues are numbed, then a needle is used to draw a whole marrow aspirate and this is sent to the lab.

Do you take the marrow aspirate from more than one site?

One skin site on each side will be numbed and three samples are taken from each of those sites.

Isn't it a lot safer to take fat via liposuction than a bone marrow aspirate?

What if I have anemia?

If your hematocrit is below 30 or your hemoglobin is below 10, we may not be able to perform the procedure. If your hematocrit is between 30-36 or hemoglobin below 12, we may try to limit the IV blood or marrow draw amounts and will have you follow-up with your family doctor.

Are there weight limits for the marrow aspirate for blood draw?

If you are under 110 pounds in weight, the doctor will likely decide to take less marrow or blood.

What if I have a blood clotting disorder?

If your clotting times are normalized by taking clotting factors, then there should be no problem performing the procedure.

What if I take Coumadin, Plavix, or other blood thinners?

We generally recommend that you stop these before the procedure. For example, if you take Coumadin, you need to have the OK of your family doctor or cardiologist to come off this drug and an INR (blood clotting tests) that is in the normal range before pursuing this procedure. If you take other blood thinner such as Plavix, you should be off this drug for 72 hours prior to the procedure. Your family doctor or cardiologist may also need to be consulted to ensure that it’s safe to come off of this medication. If you take a daily baby aspirin, then you need to come off this one week before the procedure.

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