Collection of bone marrow cells for cytologic (aspiration) and/or histologic (core biopsy) analysis is a valuable consideration when examining cytopenias (without identifiable cause), identifying blood cell morphologic abnormalities on blood smear, or staging neoplasia (eg, lymphoma, mast cell tumor) (see Indications for Bone Marrow Evaluation). Contraindications may include anesthesia risks and infection of overlying soft tissue.
Related Article: Bone Marrow Core Biopsy
Bone Marrow Cytology (Aspiration) vs Histology (Core Biopsy)
Simultaneous evaluation of bone marrow cytology and core biopsy samples can provide a more complete overview of the disease process; samples for both can be procured from a single site. Bone marrow cytology can provide the best and most rapid evaluation of cell morphology; however, cytologic evaluation alone may not yield a specific diagnosis. In these cases, examining core biopsy can be definitive because it compares the amount of fat and connective tissue with cell numbers to provide specific information about the bone marrow’s architecture. Core biopsy can identify inflammation, neoplasia, marrow necrosis, osteolysis, and myelofibrosis. Depending on the case, cytology may identify these disorders as well.