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What are bone marrow function test results?

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Quick Answer

Bone marrow function tests help assess the health of a patient's bone marrow and determine if it is manufacturing normal amounts of each blood cell, explains the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Bone marrow contains stem cells that develop into platelets, white blood cells or red blood cells.

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Full Answer

Bone marrow function tests are used to diagnose problems with the blood and bone marrow, states the NHLBI. The two tests used to assess function are aspiration and biopsy. During aspiration, a doctor uses a needle to remove fluid bone marrow from the body. A laboratory analyzes the sample and issues a report detailing the components of the marrow. If aspiration does not provide enough information, a doctor performs a biopsy. Instead of removing fluid marrow, the doctor uses a larger needle to remove spongy bone marrow tissue.

The test results show if there are any abnormal blood cells, reports the NHLBI. This information is used to diagnose bone marrow disorders and some types of cancer. In people who have been diagnosed with cancer, bone marrow function tests can help determine if the cancer has spread. Testing also helps determine the severity of the cancer. Bone marrow tests are often performed in conjunction with X-rays, blood tests and physical examinations to make an accurate diagnosis.

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