Discomfort and recovery from bone marrow biopsy - CLL Support

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Discomfort and recovery from bone marrow biopsy

2016miniman profile image

Hi..having bone marrow biopsy tomorrow and truly I'm scared. If anyone could share some thoughts about the procedure, the level of discomfort (during and after), and recovery time I'd be grateful.

Thanks in advance!

2016 miniman

38 Replies

Based on my two BMBs I’d much rather have a BMB than a cavity filled in a tooth. After my second BMB I had a slight ache the following day. Nothing after the first one. Please don’t worry it sounds much, much worse than it is actually. Please make sure you post a reply to this thread after you have it done so you can reassure other members who might need one in the future.



mrsjsmith profile image
mrsjsmith in reply to HopeME


Perfect comparison ! Uncomfortable for a short time, but quick and you don’t dribble your drinks afterwards !

Colette x

You will be just fine...

I might be concerned of what they will tell me they find.

I am wishing you only the very best.


They gave me versed for my first one. I was told I would wake up and not remember the procedure. I remember it perfectly, including telling them the versed was useless and that there was no way it would make me forget. LOL.

That said, it wasn't so bad. I had some pressure and moderate pain, but I have to say the anxiety of the procedure was worse that the procedure itself.

My hip was a bit sore the next couple of days, so there really wasn't much to the recovery. I think I had the procedure on a Wednesday and played golf that Friday.

Good luck to you, I think you'll find the worry worse than the actual procedure, which doesn't last that long.

Bearable, but personally I would rather have a tooth filled.

BeckyL USA

I would MUCH rather have BMB than tooth filled - but that's just me and dental work...

Mine was a bit uncomfortable and some ache afterwards but couldn’t be 1% the aches and pains of the endurance events you have done...

PaulaS profile image

I've had three bone marrow biopsies. No problems with any of them. Slight stinging when they inject the local anaesthetic, then strange sensation as marrow is drawn out.

No pain at all for the first two biopsies, just a few seconds pain during the third one.

No problems afterwards. Felt slightly bruised at the site but it soon passed.

People do seem to have different experiences though.

Best wishes for tomorrow.



I was provided no notice and went for a follow up for a bunch of other initial tests and probably would be like yourselves freaking out so when the doctor saw they didn’t perform one he was agitated and had them prepare me immediately to do one which he was administrating. I was also scared but to be honest he did a local in the area they were going to do the bmb and it really was not bad it was a little uncomfortable but not bad. Was sore like I fell on my ass for two days. I think everyone has different experiences. Hoping yours goes well and is easy

Will have my third BMB next week. No great problems with first two other than a slight stinging when they inject the local anaesthetic. The person that did my first procedure told me to let her know if I was having any pain with the with the withdrawal. She indicated the speed used for the collection with the syringe suction had a bearing on my pain. The process of collecting a bone chip was pain free also. I was told not to take a shower for a few days. Not sure how that may have affected those around me.

Thanks for your thoughts

Hi my experience was much like Marks. I have had one BMB and didn’t feel a thing before or after.

Good luck


Wasn't any worse than the epidural I had with my last baby. I told my doctor that freezing doesn't always take when I have had dental procedures done in the past.....when I told her afterwards that it didn't hurt much at all, she winked and said she had given me a little extra freezing.

I went into my first one completely panicked. What I remember is chatting with the doctor who did the procedure . I went out to lunch afterwards.

After treatment my doctor told me that he wanted one to see what it might show. I asked when. My choices were right then, but he couldn’t knock me out, because I had no one to get me home, or schedule it. I opted to just go for it, as I didn’t want time to worry about it. He told me that he would talk me through everything he was doing. I replied that I didn’t want to know and asked him to tell me the history of Greece, instead (he was Greek). He summed up thousands of years of history, then I drove 2 hours home. No pain.

For my third one I was knocked out. I had VERY slight discomfort after that one. A nurse later told me that they can use a bigger needle to get a better sample if you are knocked out. I’m a complete wimp and have a very low tolerance for pain. The worst part of my procedures, for me, was the panic before.

What a great idea the history of Greece. I never want to know what they are doing either. I had a cone biopsy on a lymph node in my neck done last year and the Doctor asked if it was ok if some students watched ! Eek....she described everything she did and all the problems she might encounter and arteries she might hit. I was trying to sing lalala in my head !

Colette 🤔

MsLockYourPosts profile image
MsLockYourPostsVolunteer in reply to mrsjsmith

I suppose if I thought that the students watching might save a life down the road that I would find a way to deal with that - for some things.

Agreed. Which is why I always say yes. But I might draw the line at inserting a canella after both arms were left badly bruised !

Colette 🙂

I was super anxious about my first BMB. I was given a low dose of Ativan which just took the edge off. It hurt during the withdrawal but it was literally a matter of about 4 seconds and it stopped instantly. I had a bit of aching for a few days. The big thing to remember is to BREATHE. it hurts more if you hold your breath - really.

Just say to yourself that this is being done to help doctors with my treatment, as it is needed. This will help with my recovery and my ultimate healing of my body. I am going to plow through this.

You can also offer up any pain and suffering to a higher power. That always works for me.

I would rather have a bone marrow biopsy than root canal. I agree with that.

Like you I was very apprehensive about my bone marrow biopsy, which I had on 23 April this year, but to be honest it wasn’t that bad, slightly uncomfortable but not such that it would put me off having it done again.The pain afterwards was also durable, I didn’t take any pain killers and although it was sore after about three days it started to ease. I hope this helps your worries ?

I have had three BMB's now and in all honesty, I have had no trouble whatsoever. The last one I didn't even know that it had been completed. I thought he was just starting when the doctor told me I could go home now!!! The worry is far worse than the deed. Best of luck. Eric.

It’s a fairly quick procedure really.Shorter that having a filling or dreaded root canal? First a local aneasthetic. Then a little bit of boring into your hip bone for a few minutes until they get a decent specimen!! sore yes for a few days.

You’ll be fine.

Sheila in oz

Hi Miniman - pls don't worry about this. Just ask for/insist upon Entonox (gas and air). It's what they sometimes give for berthing. I very much doubt you will feel anything, and even if you did, you wouldn't care!! That's the beauty of it. Tell your Doc that you want it because you are nervous and it will help you keep still during the procedure. It's not general anaesthesia and NO after effects except the realisation that the whole thing was a breeze...….! Do tell us how you get on. Cheers Handley

Had 7 or so so far over past 17 years all I was knocked out by a needle added to my cannula. Felt nothing slight pain 1 to 2 days at site mainly when I lie on it. Good luck

I've had two so far. Bit of local anaesthetic to numb the area, bit of pressure and it was over! Chatted with my haematologist throughout and got to see what BM looked like. Slight tenderness in the area for a few days. No big deal, thankfully.


Hated my first one, then realized I could request light sedation fir my second. They titrated me slowly for that one and it was next to worthless. For my third, knowing the IV sedation amount I could tolerate, they gave it to me all at once. Barely remember it. Felt like it was over in mere seconds. A bit of hip pain for a few days after, each time. Don’t be afraid to ask to reschedule for a week or whatever if you can afford to in order to ask for sedation if you want it. Some people don’t care. I personally hate pain!

Mine was a strange experience as a beautiful nurse took me to a room had me partially disrobe and while explaining the procedure had me ly on a medical table. Then 3 large women came in with doctor and I was held down by my legs small injection lots of pressure and strange feeling not pain just strange when a microscopic amount of marrow removed from hip. Done! Had a Charlie horse feeling for about 2 weeks! Not knowing I think is the part that gets everybody.... I look back at it now as my introduction to kicking CLL ass daily and plan to do so forever!

Hello 2016miniman

I felt little pressure and it was over in less than 5 minutes. My GP did my BMB and was very experienced. I choose local shot, no pain other than quick shots. My doctor did tell me to remember there are no nerves in bone morrow, only bone and muscle tissue. I had very minor discomfort for couple of days, which did not stop any of my normal activities. Sounds worse than it is. Blessings.

Breathe, 2016miniman. It sounds scarier than it is. I had a BMB and Bone Biopsy. The worst part for me was the numbing shots, but I was VERY grateful for them! Afterward, I was numb and didn't feel a thing for the rest of the day. The following day I was sore and took the day off work to rest. Wishing you the best!

Wear loose pants to accommodate the bandage. I drove home 3 1/2 hours right after and glad I wore roomy pants over the hip area. BMB did not bother me and I had only local anesthetic so I could drive myself.

Done bone morrow biopsy 3 times. Really easy procedure and far less worse then going to the dentist. I remember asking my DR, you mean, "thats its" - were done?

It's nothing, just like getting a flu shot. No blood involved. Keep breathing deep.

Thank you so much for all of your posts. Just read them to hubby who was panicked and he now is much more relieved. Going to opt out of sedation!


Easy as dentist, had mine 2 years ago, was given local anesthetic and all I felt was some pushing and tingling in the leg, main thing is to relax, when you tense up it makes things hurt just like the dentist!!

Looking forward to hearing your experience. At MDA, I have had 2 bilateral BMBs with general anesthesia (propofol?). They give me an IV, put me under, and I wake up 10 minutes later, & it's all over. I'm rolled out on wheelchair, and then within another 15-30 minutes, I'm up and walking around and ready for whatever else is on the schedule for the day. Soreness afterward is minor & only lasts for a day or two.

So why do they put me out? That's at my request because my first BMB was done by a local oncologist and was pretty rough. However, I think most folks have a much easier time.


All went fine.. I n and out in 15 minutes. No pian or discomfort yet. Doc felt if it came it would be very minor thanks and good luck

HopeME profile image
HopeME in reply to 2016miniman

I’m glad to hear it went well and it is in the rear view mirror! Your post and subsequent follow-up will give others confidence that the procedure is a relative non-event.

Thank you!


2016miniman profile image
2016miniman in reply to HopeME

Thanks Mark..excited to be able to help anyone I can

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