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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Technical Preparation of Bone Marrow Specimens for Histological Assessment. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Bone Marrow Procurement: Core Biopsy

An ideal bone marrow core biopsy sample for optimal evaluation of anemia should be approximately 1-2 cm in length. A larger core is desirable for evaluation of lymphoma or metastatic carcinoma. The core biopsy should be red, with grossly identifiable bone particles. What you do not want to see is a sample that is uniformly white or shiny. A solid white core biopsy usually indicates that cortical bone was sampled. A glistening sample may indicate that cartilage was sampled. However, metastatic carcinoma may present with a similar, glistening appearance.
A core sample is collected using a large bore biopsy needle that is inserted and twisted into the bone to obtain a sample of bone with bone marrow inside it. The image* illustrates the body site where the bone marrow core biopsy is normally obtained.
*Reference: Bone marrow biopsy. National Cancer Institute. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/Common/PopUps/popDefinition.aspx?id=46506&version=Patient&language=English. Accessed August 28, 2017.