Bone Marrow Biopsy

Question:

Why did you have a bone marrow biopsy performed? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: denise L., 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 03

I had a bone marrow biopsy yesterday. I was so nervous that my doctor had to calm me down. The only pain was when she gave me the freezing needle - just like the dentist. Poke, pressure, sting, and then done within 5 seconds. She told me that there would be some pressure but not pain. If I would have been more relaxed it would have been a piece of cake. I was so worried about pain but it was all good. The pressure you feel is there, but take a couple of deep breaths and it doesn't last long.

Comment from: Blondy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 21

Incidental skeletal lesions finding on MRI led to a bone marrow biopsy. Multiple other scans and lab tests were done with no diagnosis. I had terrible surgical type pain for days after the biopsy. I have had surgeries that never had this much pain. I was told I could return to work the next day… not!

Comment from: Heatherb, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 22

I have platelet counts from 430-460, so a bone marrow biopsy was ordered. I am worried about the results, not the procedure itself. Hope it is possible for it to come back as no cancer/disease.

Comment from: JMFH, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 28

I was very nervous before getting my bone marrow biopsy and aspiration. I did it with a little bit of Ativan for anxiety and no medicines other than lidocaine. The nurse practitioner who performed the procedure was experienced and communicated every step with me. I felt a small pinch from the lidocaine and then some mild pressure and noise, but virtually no pain; 1 out of 10. If you are nervous for an upcoming procedure, request the most experienced practitioner and then rest well knowing you'll be fine.

Comment from: Tami, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 21

I had my first bone marrow biopsy two days ago to confirm Myeloma. To say I was terrified was an understatement. Please don’t work yourself up to that point. It honestly wasn’t that bad. The worst part was the numbing and that was very brief. My radiologist was amazing. It took about 15 minutes. I had a very small amount of Versed but was wide awake and aware of everything.

Comment from: sherry, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 11

I had a bone marrow biopsy last week. The doctor gave me a Xanax to take 45 minutes before the procedure. I had a lidocaine injection and felt absolutely no pain. Some pressure but nothing hurt. I would recommend Xanax because it helped relax me. But 5 days later I am very sore and my bone is hurting. Hope it gets better soon.

Comment from: Bojan, 45-54 (Patient) Published: November 06

I had a bone marrow biopsy yesterday. I only had a short, sharp pain, like when you hit your elbow on something.

Comment from: bb, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 24

I had a bone marrow biopsy because my blood platelets are high.

Comment from: SadLaura, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 13

My bone marrow biopsy aspiration was a dry tap 3 times. Then they decided to do three biopsies instead. On a pain scale from 0 to 10, I would give it a 1. The only pain was from the local anesthetic at the beginning. The aspiration and biopsies didn’t hurt. I could feel something moving, and pressure but it didn’t hurt. I attribute this painlessness to taking 2 Tramacet 1 hour before (37.5 tramadol, 325 acetaminophen each). Now I am worried about myelofibrosis because of the dry tap!

Comment from: Carmel, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 29

I had my first bone marrow biopsy 5 days ago because of abnormal blood readings reported on my donated blood. I was offered IV sedation with midazolam and fentanyl, or pain relief that I control using the ‘green whistle’. After researching I chose the whistle and inhaled the pain reliever from the start. The procedure was amazing, no pain or discomfort after the initial skin prick by the local anesthetic needle. I was anxious leading up to and prior to procedure. I won’t hesitate to have another. Deep bone pain persists though.

Comment from: Chris, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 23

I had a bone marrow biopsy to diagnose non-Hodgkin lymphoma. To say I was nervous about the procedure was an understatement. I worked myself up so much to the point I was about to walk out at the last minute. I asked for sedation and very glad I did. I only felt minor pressure and a bit of dull pain a couple of times but it was only for a couple seconds. It was very quick and I was in and out in 15 minutes. I didn’t feel the lignocaine local at all and I have no pain afterwards. I would recommend sedation.

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Comment from: Jody88, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 23

I had a bone marrow biopsy today for polycythemia. It was my first one and I was scared after reading the posts here, but I had it done in the hospital. I was knocked out and don't remember a thing. I don't know why they don't do that with everyone.

Comment from: CatPerson, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 21

My bone marrow biopsy was performed to check for multiple myeloma after plasma cell population was found in the area with previous blastoma (olfactory neuroblastoma/esthesioneuroblastoma). I've had chronic head, neck and back pain most of my life, and anxiety. I'm 5'2” and 120 lb. I was given IV Versed prior, to relax. The numbing agent stung a little and there was a bit of pressure, but it was the prone position (face down/arms up) that was more uncomfortable. I found the corkscrew part an odd feeling. I had aches and a bruise (back of left hip) after, which made longer sitting painful (1 week).

Comment from: Ellie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 15

I've had four bone marrow biopsies, three by my oncologist (who told me that when he was training, they had to submit to a biopsy themselves so they would know what patients were feeling) and one biopsy by the physician’s assistant (PA). The only one that was truly painful was the one done by the PA. So, the comments about ‘it depends on who is doing it’, I believe, are accurate. I had been told before my first one to accept only the doctor doing it. A word to the wise, which I am apparently not!

Comment from: Clare C, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 15

I’ve recently had my 3rd bone marrow biopsy - this time to see why WBC count is so high. To say I don’t enjoy these biopsies is a massive understatement! I wind myself up before them so I arrive in a tizzy! I find the aspiration the worst, massively uncomfortable but my lovely doctor did this in much shorter, smaller steps making it bearable. The other part is very uncomfortable but short-lived. I still feel bruised and sorry for myself. It’s not the nicest, but necessary. Be strong, be brave.

Comment from: Ms Lynn, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 26

I had a bone marrow biopsy because my white blood cells are low, as well as my platelet count.

Comment from: Jbrider1, 55-64 (Patient) Published: May 14

I was diagnosed with CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) in late 2016. I have had three bone marrow biopsies so far. From what I can tell, the amount of discomfort you experience will come down to your pain tolerance and the skill of the person performing the procedure. I didn't experience too much pain; a few very short, intense jabs in one of the procedures and very little pain in the other two. It might all depend on how nervous and tense you are as an individual. For me it wasn't bad. For others it's terrible.

Comment from: Ranger, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 12

It was recommended I have a bone marrow biopsy after I was diagnosed with MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance). Before the procedure I did a google search on what I should expect. Big mistake. Reading some of the posts here, by the time the time came, I was a nervous wreck. Well, honestly, for me the most painful part was the shot to numb me up. I can’t say the rest of the procedure was really that bad. I would say very uncomfortable a few times but no sharp pain that I was expecting.

Comment from: Maria , 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 07

Today, May 6, 2020 I had a bone marrow biopsy at 7:30 am, because I have had a higher white blood cell count for a few years. It is now 8:44 am. The numbing agent hurt a bit. I had no sedation. It was done in the office. I felt everything; from the doctor cutting, to the bone digging. My leg was moving involuntarily. I have shooting pain down my leg. I have back problems. I’m not sure if it’s hurt sore or if it relates to my back area that’s already damaged.

Comment from: Meme , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 27

I had a bone marrow biopsy for pancytopenia, with local anesthetic. I didn’t feel any pain, only slight pressure. No ache afterwards. I took a Tylenol prior to the procedure.

Comment from: JC, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 25

I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and recently had bone marrow biopsy under light sedation. Never again, as it was extremely painful. If I have to repeat the procedure it will be under anesthesia only.

Comment from: Kira, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 23

I had a bone marrow biopsy test yesterday to determine if cancer in systemic. It was done in office by the oncologist. Numbing agent needle hurt badly. The rest was tolerable. I am sore at the site today and my very bad back is very bad today. Hope it subsides a bit.

Comment from: Catherine, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 28

I had my bone marrow biopsy done to diagnose a mast cell disorder. I was put completely to sleep, otherwise I would not have done it. But I was not prepared for the amount of pain afterwards! I woke up in severe pain, and 3 days later I am still experiencing significant pain. It doesn’t let up and the Tylenol they told me to take barely knocks it back. It feels like a broken bone that hasn’t been properly set. Very unhappy that I was not advised that this could happen.

Comment from: Chzhdmt , 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 12

I just had a bone marrow biopsy done today for low platelet count and low WBC. I was fully sedated and after reading all the comments here I am so glad I was. I feel kind of sore but it is only been 4 hours so hopefully it won’t be as bad as others have said.

Comment from: AVNJ, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 05

I was diagnosed with lymphoma in January. I had a bone marrow biopsy performed by the oncologist. He must have a secret technique, because the only amount of pain was from the needle delivering the lidocaine into the skin and bone, and that was not that bad. Afterwards I felt nothing but pressure when he inserted the larger needle into the bone marrow. Please understand that the amount of pain is a result of one's pain tolerance and the person performing the procedure.

Comment from: KGL, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 28

I had a bone marrow biopsy done (marrow and bone) to check on anemia and check for myeloma. It only hurt when they aspirated the marrow. It was a brief sharp pain in my hip and thigh. Otherwise it was painless except for the local anesthesia injection. I'm 3 days post operation and have soreness at the biopsy site but nothing I need pain medication for. Overall not a bad procedure. More worried about the test results than the procedure.

Comment from: D2, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: January 27

I have had three bone marrow biopsies, two on the right hip and once on the left. The first one in October 2014 and 2nd in November 2016 and 3rd in January 2019. First and 3rd were for right hip; itching in areas on right hip. Recently I developed pain in area of right hip and aching that last through the day. Tylenol helps a little. Don't know why I have pain in the bone where the biopsies were taken and no answers from the doctors.

Comment from: Patricia, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 18

I had a bone marrow biopsy because I had suspected leukemia (I didn't have) but I had to fight for mild sedation, on the advice of a nurse friend. This is an extremely uncomfortable and painful procedure, do not let the doctors tell you otherwise. I still can recall feeling the pain (though due to the medicines I didn't care) and I still bore the marks and soreness 6 months later! Pain is unnecessary. Please, when are patient leaflets going to tell the truth! Saying this procedure can be a bit uncomfortable is an understatement.

Comment from: Sfachef, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: January 15

I had a bone marrow biopsy due to low white blood cell counts. The procedure was not nearly as painful as I thought it would be (this is coming from a petite 20 year old). It just felt like a charley horse and pressure. First day of the recovery was painful but pain decreases as the days go by.

Comment from: Hazel , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 31

I have a low white blood cell count. I had a bone marrow biopsy today. I have a pretty good pain threshold. I only felt slight pain from the anesthesia. I felt nothing else. I was pretty surprised. I was nervous leading up to the appointment, but I was shocked that it didn't hurt more. This doctor must have been pretty amazing.

Comment from: Stephanie , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 20

I had bone marrow biopsy done two days because of elevated serum immunoglobulin free light chains. I received local and general anesthesia but am still sore. When does the soreness go away, I wonder. I can only sleep on one side right now.

Comment from: Blue, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 10

My bone marrow biopsies are done to track my multiple myeloma. My doctor does this in the office with local numbing. It has a few moments when it is quite uncomfortable but nothing beyond that. I do agree that it depends who does it.

Comment from: Greyyfoxx, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 05

I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2016 and had a bone marrow biopsy, which hurt terribly. And I have been having hip pain since 2017 and it is now worse in 2019. I can barely walk some days.

Comment from: mamaB83, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 04

I had a bone marrow biopsy done today to confirm a suspected essential thrombocythemia. I was totally awake and was terrified. They numbed it with a shot and the first part, the aspiration, wasn't bad at all. Felt weird. He had some difficulties getting the marrow (hard bones), he had to try multiple times, and all over the areas that weren't numb. It hurt, but wasn't unbearable. Never cried or screamed, just some painful grunts. All in all it's not fun and does hurt, but is not that bad. It's over quickly.

Comment from: JMGF, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: December 03

I am a woman in my early eighties. My doctor suspects that I have MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), because I have had low blood counts and a high MCV for three years with no other cause that he can discover. He recently did a bone marrow biopsy. I was injected with a numbing solution, so most of what he did was not painful. When he drilled deep into the bone, I felt sharp, brief pain, but it was over very quickly. I was a bit sore for the rest of the day, but by the next day all the discomfort was gone.

Comment from: Lalu , 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 02

I never usually leave comments, but felt I should, as reading many of these comments made me very anxious before my bone marrow biopsy. I had one 3 days ago and while uncomfortable, the pain was minimal. I had a local anesthetic and any time I felt any sharpness they added more. It was mostly a lot of pressure. Three days later (and day of) the area is tender, but I was and am up and about doing my normal activities. If you’re facing an upcoming bone marrow biopsy be well and don’t panic.

Comment from: Chris, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 19

I had three bone marrow biopsies carried out in 2009 due to a non-cancerous blood condition which was puzzling the hematologists. All three were carried out without any anesthetics or pain killers. Needle going in was painful, however the aspiration where the bone marrow liquid was being sucked out was horrible, so strongly suggest having an anesthetic. A local injection probably won't help so you will need something different.

Comment from: Ian S, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 18

My doctor ordered a bone marrow biopsy for differential diagnosis of probable essential thrombocythemia within the myeloproliferative neoplasm disorders. I knew that the test would be rather painful and requested sedation. I was referred to our hospital's outpatient surgical center, where the radiology department performed the biopsy under CT guidance. Even with the use of propofol, I woke up as the radiologist took the bone core. I cannot imagine having this done without sedation.

Comment from: T93 , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 13

I just had the bone marrow biopsy procedure today and was pleasantly surprised. Yes, there was pressure for a few seconds, but overall manageable. I wanted to post to make sure future patients know that everyone has different experiences. I think a positive attitude helps!

Comment from: Gilly, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

I had high white platelets and very sore shoulder, so the doctor wanted to check me for cancer, and I had bone marrow biopsy. He is a very kind and gentle doctor but the pain was horrendous. I fainted and my blood pressure went high. The nurse assumed I hadn't taken blood pressure medication when the fact is I have low blood pressure.

Comment from: Taxitim24 , 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 29

I had testicular cancer with a long course of chemotherapy as it was expected to spread, in 1999 aged 24. Ten years later, I had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The bone marrow biopsy was so painful, yet everybody looked at me like I was cracking as the person who did it said it doesn't cause pain, yet the young nurse was brought to tears. I now have fibromyalgia and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) where a lot of days I have no quality of life, but glad to be here with my wife and 5 children.

Comment from: Gabby, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 10

I had leukemia (acute myeloid leukemia) and have to get bone marrow aspirations and biopsies regularly still, even after remission. They couldn’t sedate me at first because I was too sick and it was very painful. The past couple times I have been sedated and it’s so much better. There’s still an ache after, for a few days, and sometimes I have shooting pains where they’ve gone in. Nothing like the pain of the actual procedure though. It doesn’t have to hurt, don’t let anyone bully you into not having anesthesia!

Comment from: Obiecat , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 10

I am being tested for marginal zone non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I had my sister-in-law who has a medical background and experience, come in with me for my bone marrow biopsy. It should have taken about 20 minutes, but it took an hour! It was beyond painful and multiple needles, hit nerves, and I was screaming with the pain. I also had to have a bone biopsy. My sister-in-law said it was the worst test she had ever seen; thank goodness she was there with me. The doctor spoke poor English and I could not understand her prior to the test.

Comment from: Jose, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 01

My white blood count was very low, I believe 1.7, I had swollen lymph nodes, and was feeling weak and fatigued for months. I also had some skin lesions that came back as HLH (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis) in skin biopsy. Doctors were confused with all of it. They found EBV (Epstein-Barr virus) in bloodwork. I guess they found a small trace of HLH in bone marrow biopsy as well. I was not treated for anything in my hospital stay of 6 days. Now I am having severe hip joint pain 3 weeks after the biopsy.

Comment from: Oldnurse, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 09

I had a diagnostic bone marrow biopsy for anemia. Not that bad. Don't go to a teaching hospital and refuse to be a practice patient. They can practice on patients who are not mentally aware! It does hurt for a short time at the bone stick and during marrow withdrawal. That is only a couple minutes, tops. Cuss; I did! No aftereffects. I get migraine headaches and they're much worse.

Comment from: LaLa, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 27

I had a bone marrow biopsy 20 years ago due to a non-Hodgkin’s diagnosis. Periodically, the site still scabs over. Not sure if this is normal. Wonder if anyone else experienced this.

Comment from: Habu, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 21

I had been diagnosed with leukemia and the bone marrow biopsy was necessary to confirm the type of leukemia and how much marrow was involved.

Comment from: Leonard, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: August 16

I will be having bone marrow aspiration biopsy tomorrow because of low blood platelets. I hope all goes well.

Comment from: Del, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 02

My white cells are low and bone marrow biopsy is supposed to give better results. After my bone marrow biopsy my bones started hurting all over.

Comment from: msqun, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 26

I have had hepatosplenomegaly 4 plus years, intermittent anemia with too many reticulocytes and high carbon dioxide with extensive family history of multiple lymphoma and leukemia variations, so the doctor ordered bone marrow biopsy. I had it on 7/24/19 and local anesthetic (novocaine) was ineffective. Because of my personal history of issues with anesthesia the doctor allowed minimal medicines 25 mcg of Fentanyl and 0.25 mg Versed, which did nothing. The only painful part of the biopsy was 20 seconds during the aspiration of the marrow. I went to work 3 hours later and the full evening; so far ok.

Comment from: Kristin, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 09

I guess I’m lucky. My bone marrow biopsy was painful but completely tolerable. The nurse told me beforehand that my doctor was one of the best at doing this procedure so maybe the practitioner is the factor. My biopsy was because of 5 “out of range” blood draws.

Comment from: CAAusting, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 01

I was diagnosed with leukemia, had 3 bone marrow biopsies taken from my hip, and the 3rd time the doctor asked me if I had a high tolerance for pain. I said I didn't know, in a bit of a grunt. I only had a novocaine to numb my skin. Afterward I was fine, a little sore but that was it. So I guess I do have a high tolerance for pain. It beats the other choice any day of the week!

Comment from: Dallas,TX, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 01

I was diagnosed with pancytopenia. The bone marrow biopsy procedure took place at the hospital in the radiology department. The doctor does lots of bone marrow and aspiration biopsies. He does not like to have his patients hurt. I was very grateful. I was sedated with a twilight IV drip of propanol and an anti-nausea medication. I fell asleep while they were cleaning and marking the area. I felt nothing. I woke up soon after and I have only a tiny bit bruised feeling the next day. I would do it again.

Comment from: tomsjams, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: June 28

I had a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy done yesterday to confirm multiple myeloma. After reading the comments on this page, and after my own painless experience, I realize the only consensus here is that the level of pain depends on the skill of the person performing this test. If you're going to get a bone marrow exam for the first time, and the office will only use local anesthetic, insist on having someone who's done dozens of these procedures. All you'll feel is cramping in your upper glute.

Comment from: Pete, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 28

I was repeatedly told the in-office bone marrow biopsy would take 10 minutes and recovery would be between 10 and 60 minutes. In the event at least 7 needles used; 1 for blood, 2 for numbing gent, 1 for tissue sample, 3 needles for bone sample. Apparently bone is very hard and first two needles didn't do it. It took 20 minutes, lots of grinding and pressure, and a call for help. Not much pain, but I could not walk without assistance for 36 hours after. Take a driver with you. Certainly different from what was told.

Comment from: JH, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 22

I had a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration today because of high platelets level. I was so nervous after reading mainly stories on how it is so painful. I can honestly say there was no pain at all, only a very slight dull ache twice. The nurse said she was watching my face, and my forehead never flinched. The nurse and I were talking and laughing throughout the procedure and the doctor kept me informed on what she was doing. Afterwards I must admit I was waddling like a slow duck and bending was slightly sore.

Comment from: JT, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 12

Two years ago I was diagnosed with CML (chronic myeloid leukemia), and 1 year later with ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia). I just had my 8th bone marrow biopsy and will hit double digits unfortunately. One of my 8 were okay. Having been told I have hard bones, it is not good news. They been done with lidocaine local. It seems each time they get more painful. I've been wondering if my bilateral hip pain is related to these biopsies. They are just awful! Lucky if you have soft bones. My fear is that the needle will break in my back. I try to be positive and have meditative thoughts going.

Comment from: lisa t, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 04

I had a bone marrow biopsy test 20 years ago. It was hard as I have very hard bones but I recovered with no problems. My second one was four months ago, again they struggled to get through my bone. A week later I was hospitalized with the worst pain I have ever been through, exactly at the location that the needle went in. I was told this was a coincidence which it quite clearly isn't. Four months down and I am still hobbling and in pain. This procedure needs to be looked into.

Comment from: Suzie Quay, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 26

Abnormal protein was found in my blood. The bone marrow biopsy test was to either rule out or confirm myeloma or rheumatoid arthritis. I was sedated, but could feel the pulling and tugging, but no pain. It's been a week since I had it. I was told that if the doctor saw something that he needed to talk to me about, he would call. Hoping that no news is good news.

Comment from: Shelly Dee, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 20

My bone marrow biopsy was done to find why I had less white blood cells than normal. I would not say it was particularly painful. The local anesthetic stung a bit. Having the aspirate was a very odd and a slightly sharp sensation but it was very quick. The bone biopsy was a little uncomfortable with the pushing and again was a bit sharp at times but nothing too bad at all. I would have no concerns about having another one done if needed. My consultant was very experienced and reassuring and talked me through it.

Comment from: LovedByGod, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 08

I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2005 with a bone marrow biopsy and aspirations, which hurt terribly after! During the procedure I only felt pressure due to the IV medicines for pain and anxiety. Fast forward to 2019 and both hips are having pain issues now... fun. Thankful to still be here!

Comment from: Ridgold, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 04

I had bone marrow aspiration and biopsy for MGUS diagnosis. Never again without anesthesia. It was very painful. I wish I had known.

Comment from: OldMan Bill , 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 30

I had a diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). After chemotherapy I had a stem cell transplant along with the bone marrow biopsy/aspiration, on a rather routine basis. The first few were without sedation and were exquisitely painful. The numerous subsequent bone marrow biopsies have all been under propofol anesthesia, which worked for me and most of all no pain. Now, I won't go through a bone marrow biopsy without sedation, I learned the hard way, it doesn't have to hurt!

Comment from: Whatever, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 24

I’ve had 5 bone marrow biopsies due to leukemia. The first two were done in an office setting. The doctor was a nice and caring person, and one of his nurses held my hand the entire time. Parts of the procedure were quite painful. When the leukemia came back, I had to go to a different doctor (the first one had moved away). The experience with the second doctor was quite different. I felt a lot of pressure and pulling, but no pain to speak of. I think it depends on the doctor’s skill.

Comment from: Nevada sunshine, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 04

I am trying to figure out why my white count is off so badly. I scared myself by watching videos of bone marrow biopsy beforehand, and was terrified through the whole thing. Yep, it hurt. Still does 2 days later. Bruised badly too.

Comment from: David L, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 01

I've had two bone marrow biopsies in the last three weeks with more to come after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

Comment from: Royboy, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: October 01

My husband is having a bone marrow biopsy to check for ,B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma very scared for my husband’s test tomorrow.

Comment from: Birdagirl, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 27

I have had multiple bone marrow biopsies for my cancer. They are very painful, however, I had a poor physician’s assistant (PA) do mine today and it was beyond painful. He had to try multiple times and was very rough. Had to call in another PA. I told him he needs to have one done on him. He would have been a little compassionate.

Comment from: Bobby , 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 13

I had a bone marrow biopsy to see if I have cancer. Medicaid wouldn't cover MRI or PET scan. Five doctors and 2 radiologists said I had cancer and it has metastasized into my lymph nodes. But my bloodwork came back from the lab good. All counts appeared normal. So now all of us are wondering what caused these lesions and 6, 10, and 12 mm holes in my pelvis. Diagnosis is cancer of an unknown source.

Comment from: Sorebear, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 24

I had to have a bone marrow biopsy done because of holes in my bones. This was the most painful process I have ever had, I was told it would take about 20 to 30 minutes, and I was in the room for 90 minutes. After the 5th attempt they got another doctor who got the sample instantly. I am honestly dreading the next time.

Comment from: VIJAY , 55-64 (Patient) Published: July 13

My hemoglobin was going down every year and to check any probability of bone marrow cancer the biopsy was done approximately 10 years back but even now I am suffering from lower back pain.

Comment from: Debi, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 13

I had my surgeon take my bone marrow biopsy to use in helping with the repair of a collapsed disc in my lower back which ended being a major surgery. Luckily I was put out for the surgery. It has been 7 weeks ago now and although the recovery process is painful it’s better than the pain I was in walking around with a disc that was completely collapsed. However it seems like my worst pain is at the site they took the bone marrow from.

Comment from: Notsoscary, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 13

I never comment on these things but I felt the need to after reading these comments. I am under 30, pregnant, and had to have my bone marrow biopsy due to low CBC results (among other things). I couldn’t be sedated for the procedure and most pain medicines are off the table while I’m pregnant. I had lidocaine injected around the back of my right hip and then the procedure started. It took roughly 5 to 10 minutes and was completely painless. I’m sore after the fact but haven’t taken any Tylenol or anything.

Comment from: Brave girl, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 23

I had to have a bone marrow biopsy because of low red and white blood count.

Comment from: Destiny 55, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 25

I had the bone marrow biopsy performed, checking for multiple myeloma, lymphoma. Biopsy was done 3 years ago and I am still having a great deal of pain that has spread from the site all across my lower back and buttock, it also changes in size. I have brought it today to my doctor’s attention and the first thing out of their mouth is the site heals right away with no further problem. I've been told that it's not the biopsy, it has to be something else. This is my second biopsy, years apart, the pain has become unbearable, plus I am dealing with other body pain.

Comment from: Mervyn 8, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: April 16

I had the bone marrow biopsy procedure done 20 years ago to determine that I have thrombocytopenia. I was not warned of the pain, it hurts. I would describe it as like having a molar pulled without pain killers. What I have not been able to get an answer to is, how long one should experience pain at the site. I still get a pain similar to that of having the procedure, especially when jarring, stepping down a curb without warning, or due to body attitude, twisting and bending. Nurses and doctors have not been able to come up with any answers. Seems a long time to have after effects!

Comment from: Amyloidosis Patient, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 16

I had a bone marrow extraction (aspiration and bone marrow biopsy) a few hours ago. I felt compelled to go on this site and leave a comment because after reading the comments of others last night, I had myself terrified. Perhaps it depends on who is doing the procedure but mine was almost totally painless. It was done by a hematologist in his office with local Novocain. The Novocain injection was no worse than a Novocain injection at the dentist. I felt nothing when the extraction springs were inserted, other than pressure, and felt slightly uncomfortable during the actual extraction. I have had much more painful experiences in my life. I wanted to write this response to alleviate for others some of the anxiety I experienced going into my procedure. Good luck!

Comment from: Louisa, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 13

I am in the UK and have had two bone marrow biopsies with no sedation due to neutropenia and both were horrendously painful, the second one so much so they had to stop and arrange for me to have it done under a general anesthetic. From what the nurse told me afterwards it very much depends on the hematologist doing the biopsy; she told me the male hematologist was far better at doing them than the female one who did mine. So those of you who have had virtually pain free experiences have been lucky! I have to have another one in a week's time as they think lymphoma has spread to my bone marrow and it will be done by the same female hematologist so I am dreading it. I can only hope her technique has improved somewhat since last year but I doubt it.

Comment from: Fool Me Once, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 22

I have low red blood cells and iron infusion didn't help matters. I had to have a bone marrow biopsy 2 days ago. The radiologist took an x-ray to determine which side of pelvis the sample should be taken. Yes, I felt the pounding and pressure as I was told I would, but the worst pain was the last part when the doctor took a teaspoon of my blood in that area. I was told many people experience pain then, but some do not. Well, I can bear pain well, but this was the most incredible pain, almost other-worldly! I screamed so loudly, cried and bit into the pillow for the 7 seconds it took to withdraw the blood. Do not do this test unless you are knocked out! Believe me!

Comment from: MJ, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

I had a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration today due to a low WBC count. My doctor explained exactly what he was doing throughout the procedure. I had to bring my knees up as far as I could to my chest and was told not to move during the procedure. I felt a small pinch when he numbed the site. During the biopsy I felt a small pressure but no pain. It was quick and painless.

Comment from: Neill A, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 10

I had bone marrow aspiration with trephine on both hips today. I had plenty of local anesthetic. The first hip was slightly painful at the beginning of the procedure but when the blood was taken I hit the roof. Thankfully they only took two vials. The left hip was absolutely agonizing. Even on gas and air I was dancing about the bed. Each hip took about 45 minutes. Post procedure was/is awful. I could/can barely walk. It is 6 hours since the procedure and no pain killers have touched it. (I’m on morphine and Oramorph and have atypical Ewing’s carcinoma of the navicular in the right foot). Here's hoping a good night’s rest will help.

Comment from: Liz R, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 09

Eight years ago I had my first bone marrow biopsy. I was already weak with pain from a tumor filled spleen (diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) and all that was used was a local. The pain and fear throughout this procedure left me traumatized. I had such anxiety when it came to getting another one, I asked to be sedated. My team made a deal that they would give me all the painkillers available and that I could stop the procedure at any time and then schedule it for the operation room. I was so doped up, but it still hurt, but less than the first time. On the way home, we had to stop the car several times so I could vomit. This was repeated four more times; lots of drugs, still painful and sick afterwards. I had to get an autologous transplant and I have had another relapse recently. I am due for another transplant and I know I will need more biopsies. I dread them and will ask this time to be sedated.

Comment from: sammyb122, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 01

I had my bone marrow biopsy performed yesterday due to a chronic low white blood cell count. I had the option of having it performed in a hospital under general anesthesia, or in the doctor's office using local anesthesia. I chose the latter, using local anesthesia. I was ridiculously nervous before the procedure, even after taking the two Vicodin as instructed. The nerves only subsided after everything was finished. While the biopsy certainly wasn't pleasant, it wasn't the worst pain I've ever experienced. The worst part were the lidocaine shots, where two were given. The first was to numb the surface, and the second was to numb the area close to the bone. Both hurt pretty bad, but it was bearable. The actual biopsy did not hurt at all. I could feel the doctor putting a lot of pressure on my lower back to extract the marrow, but no pain was felt. I felt some pain at the site for the remainder of the day, and feel some pain today, but overall feel pretty good. I am taking Ibuprofen, and it's working well. I'd be nervous having to do it again, but in my experience, it wasn't that bad.

Comment from: Merv, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 11

I had a bone marrow biopsy taken from the hip, two days ago, and diagnosed with Erdheim Chester disease. I always thought I had a high tolerance to pain. But I found this procedure was extremely painful.

Comment from: acha, 65-74 (Patient) Published: December 31

I had bone marrow biopsy performed today at the cancer hospital and it did hurt during the procedure. However after the procedure there was no pain. The real pain was there for about one minute and that was not unbearable. When it was done the first time five months ago there was no pain but I had severe pain for a few hours afterwards. This is a good test for diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers and if I have to do it again I will do it willingly.

Comment from: mother, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 03

My daughter has had leukemia, and as part of a trial she will have her 17th aspiration tomorrow. She has Entonox gas during the bone marrow biopsy procedure with makes her very silly but does help with the pain.

Comment from: Pam, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 05

I was diagnosed with low white cell count, neutropenia, after having many full blood count tests. I saw a consultant who said I need to have bone marrow biopsy, I read every forum and tried to find out as much as I could. I was terrified, I asked the consultant if I could be sedated and his reply was, we will try without. Most of what I read, people said they had sedation. The day arrived when I had to have the biopsy, and I was so terrified I was going to walk out. The area, was cleaned I was given local anesthetic to numb the area. The specialist nurse inserted the needle and before I knew it, she said that the fluid had been removed, I was surprised as I didn't feel a thing, and I knew that the next bit might feel painful, as she went for the sample of bone marrow. However I was surprised again, the nurse said I may feel a little pain, like sciatica, and I can honestly say, I did but very slight, nothing as I had expected. The area was dressed with a dressing and then I was told to lie on my back for about 10 or 15 minutes, the nurse then returned and checked again for any bleeding, and all was well. I went home. I thought it may be painful after the anesthetic wore off, but it was fine. So I would say to anyone, try not to worry, it was nothing to what other people seemed to be saying about the test on the forums.

Comment from: Kickingcancersbutt, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 08

I had three bone marrow biopsies and aspirations done to confirm a diagnosis of leukemia, see how the first treatment went, and then to confirm remission. They refused to use anything other than local anesthetic the first time, and it was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. The second time they gave me Ativan to keep me calm, but it didn't help at all. The third time they gave both Ativan and morphine, neither of which helped much at all. The morphine did take away the soreness I usually feel after the procedure however, which was a slight perk. I suggest requesting total anesthesia for this procedure, as it is very painful, in my experience, and it is not something you want to be awake for or have memories of.

Comment from: sasha, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 13

I had my 2nd bone marrow biopsy in less than a year today, and once again was told that they don't put people under for these procedures because they don't take long. Today's biopsy was done by an intern, his first time, and it took way too long, as he was being trained step by step. I had my 8 lb. child with no drugs, I am not usually nervous about surgeries, tests etc. but this hurt both times. The numbing, the removal of the skin and bone was ok, but the marrow removal really hurt both times, and 12 hours later, it's aching badly. If I had been sedated, it would have been much better, so insist on sedation and you'll do fine. My diagnosis is myelodysplastic syndrome so we will see what the second test results are.

Comment from: Eddos, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 17

I had a bone marrow biopsy when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. As it was done 18 years ago I am sure the process has improved. I remember it as the second strongest pain I have ever experienced, the first being a stabbing feeling behind my left clavicle caused by the Hodgkin’s. If it was ever necessary for me to have the procedure again then I definitely would. The test is an essential part of the diagnosis and without it I may not have been around to write this review. I was lucky and although the pain was severe, it only lasted as long as the procedure took, which was around a minute, maybe less. For whatever reason you are reading this, I wish you well and good health.

Comment from: Od, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 29

My white blood cells are low and my doctor wants me to do a bone marrow biopsy. But I don’t have any pain in my bones.

Comment from: Horchlerl, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: January 29

My husband is scheduled for bone marrow biopsy test because they think his melanoma or lymphoma has spread or grown. He is not good with pain so wondering if I should insist he be sedated.

Comment from: patient, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 09

I'm very tolerant of pain, have had many procedures with only local, also had colonoscopy and upper endoscopy with nothing. I had a bone marrow biopsy done yesterday by a very experienced nurse practitioner. She did it all correctly, with buffered lidocaine. The worst part by far was the actual aspiration of the bone marrow itself. It was about 5 seconds of excruciating pain from the iliac crest down through my leg to the knee. I would advise having it done under propofol.

Comment from: Scott, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 03

I have had 4 bone marrow biopsies so far, going to have a few more over the next year. They do hurt, can be pretty bad depending on who does it, maybe it's the instruments they use. I've had doctors take 30 minutes, so when one doctor told me it would only take 5 minutes I laughed. She got the job done in 5 minutes, taking 1 core and 4 fluid samples. It was painful but she warned me of each pull and poke, said when to take in a deep breath and when to let it out slowly. It was over before I knew it.

Comment from: Jchrisl, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 09

I had a bone marrow biopsy at 17. Till then and in the 30 years since, I’ve never experienced anything so painful. My advice is, insist on general anesthesia, despite their resistance. Don’t look at the instruments. Request they be concealed. Turn head away during the procedure. Have a pail handy. I vomited in sheer pain. Have a ride home. I had two years of intense phobia of my back being touched, destroying my intimate life. A recent fall on that spot has me reliving some of the pain.

Comment from: Blue, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: October 01

My mother is 91 years old. Her doctor mentioned her blood platelet numbers continue to go down and mom needs to have a bone marrow aspiration. I am reading how painful it is and am absolutely torn in her going through the procedure. I have to see if there is an alternative to this procedure. I want the best for her and overall health. Sadly, she has Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. She is on just one medication for her Alzheimer's. I am deeply saddened as to what to do.

Comment from: Jackie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 10

I had a bone marrow biopsy a month ago and wouldn't do it again. The procedure was in the hematologist's office with local Novocain. It was an uncomfortable procedure but not horrid. However, 30 minutes after I left the office, I began having trouble walking and within an hour, we had to call for an ambulance because of the extreme pain. I ended up in the emergency room and had a CT scan which showed an enormous hematoma on my left hip. I'm not on blood thinners, but had heavy, painful bruising over the next 3 weeks which continued down my leg. My knee and lower leg are still tender and my ankle continues to swell. My health is excellent accept for finding that I have essential thrombocythemia with JAK2 mutation. Seems odd that I would bleed so much with a heavy platelet count, so a vein or artery must have been punctured during the procedure.

Comment from: Noelle0517, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 18

I had a bone marrow biopsy yesterday. After reading the horror stories of pain, I was pretty terrified. The worst part was the numbing shot and that wasn't bad at all. I felt pressure from the biopsy but absolutely no pain. It doesn't take long at all. Eighteen hours later I am sore but it is certainly bearable; feels much like a bad bruise. Perhaps it does depend on the doctor and that plays a factor but hoping to relieve some of the fear from others I experienced prior to this procedure.

Comment from: Johnnie , 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 11

I had a hip bone marrow biopsy in 1976. A twisting motion hand drill was used and I still experience pain throughout the affected area. The entire procedure was extremely painful. Periodically a painful blistering sore develops at the injection site and has done so for many years.

Comment from: karenk, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 01

Never again will I have a bone marrow biopsy without sedation. I'll pay for it! They tell you it's a brief pain. Well, I found it to be barbaric.

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