Bone Biopsy, Open

An open bone biopsy is a surgical procedure to remove a small piece of bone. This piece of bone is examined under a microscope by a specialist (pathologist). It is usually taken in the area where X-rays and or MRI have identified a concern. The biopsy may be done to make sure something seen in the bone is not cancer or another problem that needs treatment. It can identify problems such as:

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

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

  • Benign bone cysts.

  • Bony growths.

  • An infection in the bone (osteomyelitis).


  • 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 and 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 the procedure, as these can cause excessive bleeding after surgery.

  • 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 be present 60 minutes prior to your procedure or as directed.


  • A general anesthetic is usually given. This means you will be asleep during the procedure. Sometimes a regional anesthesia is used. This means just the location of the surgical site will be numbed for the procedure.

  • After the sample is removed through a cut made by the surgeon, the cut is sewn up with stitches.

  • This is usually a same day surgery, although your caregiver may want you to stay overnight for observation. If you are allowed to go home, you can usually leave within a couple of hours after surgery as long as there are no complications.


  • Keep your surgery site clean and dry.

  • You may shower and bathe normally unless instructed otherwise by your surgeon.

  • Pat the wound dry and put on a new dressing (medication and bandage) after cleansing.

  • Protect the wound until your caregiver advises you can return to regular daily activities.

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 surgical site.

  • You have pus coming from the surgical site.

  • You have drainage from the biopsy site lasting longer than 1 day.

  • 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.