Bone marrow examination is regarded as one of the most important diagnostic procedure to assess various haematological disorders. The uses and advantages of bone marrow aspiration are numerous. Sometimes a sample of bone marrow must be examined to determine why blood cells are abnormal or why there are too few or too many of a specific kind of blood cell.
A doctor can take two different types of bone marrow samples:
- Bone marrow aspirate: Removes fluid and cells by inserting a needle into the bone marrow and sucking out fluid and cells
- Bone marrow core biopsy: Removes an intact piece of bone marrow using a coring device (similar to a larger diameter needle).
The bone marrow aspirate shows what cells, normal and abnormal, are present in the bone marrow. The core biopsy shows how full the bone marrow is with cells and where the cells are located within the marrow. The bone marrow produces the cellular elements of the blood, including platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells. Bone marrow examination can detect blood disorders that affect the blood.
There are many blood disorders, and they can affect the quantity as well as the functionality of the cells in the blood (blood cells) or proteins in the blood clotting system or immune system. Doctors select tests to help diagnose blood disorders based on the person’s symptoms and the results of the physical examination.
Sometimes a blood disorder causes no symptoms but is discovered when a laboratory test is done for another reason. Bone marrow examination is used in the diagnosis of a number of conditions, including leukaemia, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, anaemia, and pancytopenia.