Bone Biopsy, Needle

A bone biopsy is a minor surgical procedure in which a small sample of bone is removed. The sample is taken with a needle. The bone sample is then looked at under a microscope by a specialist. The sample is usually taken from a bone close to the skin. This test is often done to identify a problem found on X-rays or with blood tests. It may be used to make sure something seen in the bone is not cancer or another problem that needs treatment. It can help diagnose problems such as:

  • A tumor of the bone marrow (multiple myeloma).

  • Bone that forms abnormally (Paget's disease).

  • Non-cancerous (benign) bone cysts.

  • Bony growths.

  • Infections in the bone.

  • Other bone marrow conditions.


  • Previous problems with anesthetics or medicines used to numb the skin.

  • Allergies to dyes, iodine, foods, or latex.

  • Medicines taken including herbs, eye drops, prescription medicines (especially medicines used to "thin the blood"), aspirin, other over-the-counter medicines, and steroids (by mouth or as a cream).

  • History of bleeding or blood problems.

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.

  • History of blood clots in your legs or lungs.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Other important health problems.


All surgery is associated with risks. Some of these risks are:

  • Excessive bleeding.

  • Infection.

  • Injury to surrounding tissue.


  • Ask your caregiver how long to withhold aspirin or blood thinners prior to having the procedure.

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the biopsy.

  • Let your caregiver know if you develop a cold or other infectious problem prior to surgery.

  • You should arrive 60 minutes prior to your procedure or as directed.


  • The sample of bone is removed by putting a large needle through the skin and into the bone.

  • Bone biopsies are frequently done under local anesthesia. Sometimes sedatives are also given to keep you relaxed or even asleep during the procedure.

Finding out the results of your test

Not all test results are available during your visit. If your test results are not back during the visit, make an appointment with your caregiver to find out the results. Do not assume everything is normal if you have not heard from your caregiver or the medical facility. It is important for you to follow up on all of your test results.


  • You have redness, swelling, or increasing pain in the biopsy site.

  • You have pus coming from the biopsy site.

  • You have drainage from the site lasting longer than 1 to 2 days.

  • You notice a bad smell coming from the biopsy site or dressing.

  • You have a breaking open of the site (edges not staying together) after sutures have been removed.

  • You develop persistent nausea or vomiting.


  • You have a fever.

  • You develop a rash.

  • You have difficulty breathing.

  • You develop any reaction or side effects to medicines given.