Bone marrow aspirate
Bone marrow aspirate is a procedure done by an oncologist, surgeon or Internal Medicine specialist to evaluate the cause of a patient’s abnormal cell counts. A bone marrow aspirate is generally done with your pet under general anesthesia but sometimes can be accomplished with a combination of sedation and local anesthesia. Most bone marrow aspirates take only 5 to 10 minutes to do. Bone marrow aspirates are considered a low risk procedure, although anesthetic risk is always a consideration.
A special needle is gently inserted into a numb area of bone, usually in the hip or shoulder area, after the area has been shaved and cleaned. The needle is passed into the bone marrow cavity to obtain the fluid +/- marrow biopsy sample containing growing red and white blood cells and platelets. The fluid is sent to a pathologist specializing in reading bone marrow slides. Results usually take one to two days to return for fluid analysis and about seven business days for core biopsy samples.
No stitches are required after the procedure and most patients are able to go home the same day. Sometimes medications are prescribed for your pet while waiting for the bone marrow cytology results, but may be changed when final results are available.
Your pet may be slightly uncomfortable around the bone marrow aspirate site after the procedure, and your doctor may prescribe a short course of pain medications.