Are there any risks?
General anaesthetics are very safe – serious complications are very rare. The anaesthetist will carry out a full examination and check your child’s medical history before the procedure. Some of the most common side effects with general anaesthetics are a sore throat or hoarse voice (usually from the breathing tube), nausea and vomiting (post anaesthetic), drowsiness and in very rare cases, an unexpected allergic reaction. Your anaesthetist will be able to discuss these with you further on the day of the procedure.
The area of skin where the needle has been inserted can sometimes bleed, leave bruising and be uncomfortable or painful afterwards, but this will disappear in time. Your child will be given pain-relieving medication should this be required after the procedure. A blood transfusion may be given in the very rare case of excessive bleeding.
There is a very small risk of infection at the injection site after the procedure, but this is very rare due to the extremely sterile steps taken while collecting the sample.
What happens after the test?
A BMA is typically performed as a day procedure which means your child is admitted and discharged the same day. Your child will recover on a ward where routine post-operative monitoring will take place. Should your child experience any of the symptoms mentioned above they may need to stay longer than usual but should still be able to go home the same day.
Most children can return to their normal daily activities including school once discharged home; however, we do advise that your child avoid any physical activities or sports for one week. The bandage covering the biopsy site should remain intact for 24 hours and can be removed easily during the next bath or shower.
Contact your hospital, team or GP should any of the following occur:
- the biopsy site is bleeding
- signs of infection – oozing fluid or pus / redness / swelling / warmth or increased pain to the site
- if your child is unwell – temperature of 38 degrees or above / poor eating and drinking / more tired
- if you are worried for any reason following this procedure.
Bone marrow aspirate samples usually take one to two days and trephine samples can sometimes take up to three days to process. Other specialist tests may take longer but this should be explained by your treating doctor.
Haematology Department (2e)
Queensland Children’s Hospital
Level 2, 501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
t 07 3068 2375
In an emergency, always call 000.
If it’s not an emergency but you have any concerns, contact 13 Health (13 43 2584). Qualified staff will give you advice on who to talk to and how quickly you should do it. You can phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.