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Evaluation of bone marrow aspirate smears

David S Rosenthal, MD
Section Editor
Stanley L Schrier, MD
Deputy Editor
Alan G Rosmarin, MD


Aspiration and biopsy of the bone marrow is used to diagnose, confirm, and/or stage hematologic disease, and is a diagnostic tool in non-hematologic disorders (eg, storage disease, systemic infection) and malignancies. It is an ambulatory procedure performed under local anesthesia, with low morbidity.

The evaluation of bone marrow aspirate smears will be discussed here.

Details of the bone marrow aspirate and biopsy procedure, additional testing performed on the bone marrow, and complications of the procedure are discussed separately. (See "Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: Indications and technique".)

Evaluation of the peripheral blood smear is also covered separately. (See "Evaluation of the peripheral blood smear".)


As described separately, the clinician performing the procedure should check with the hematopathology laboratory prior to the procedure for clarification about slide preparation and collection of additional specimens for cytogenetics, immunologic studies, and/or cultures, as well as guidance concerning timely evaluation of the collected material by the clinician and the hematopathologist. It is often helpful to have another person at the procedure to help make the aspirate smears before the sample forms a clot. (See "Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: Indications and technique", section on 'Preparation of samples'.)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 21, 2017.
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