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Bone Marrow Biopsies Histology/Pathology

Important Note

For detailed collection instructions refer to Seattle Children's Clinical Policy/Procedure: Bone Marrow Aspirate-Biopsy or Surgery Bone Marrow Specimen Handling Job Aide.

Questions can be directed to Histology at 206-987-2580, Cell Markers at 206-987-2560, or Pathology at 206-987-2103.

Clinical System Name

BM Specimen Tracking


The bone marrow aspiration/biopsy is used to diagnose or rule out hematologic and/or oncologic diseases.  These tests are performed for staging and monitoring treatment for many hematologic and non-hematologic disorders.  Bone Marrow biopsies are often indicated for solid tumor staging; bilateral specimens are often obtained in that setting.  Biopsies may also be particularly useful in the case of a "dry tap" (see Seattle Children's Clinical Policy/Procedure: Bone Marrow Aspiration-Biopsy)

Sample Requirements

Specimen:  Bone Marrow

Container(s):  See comments

Preferred Vol:  See comments

Minimum Vol:  See comments

Note:  After collection, biopsies are placed on a sterile pad. The pad is wrapped in a piece of sterile gauze that has been moistened with sterile saline and placed in a sterile specimen cup. Biopsy specimens should be processed as soon as possible so they do not dry out. Specimens are held at room temperature. The specimens must be properly labeled (including patient identification and specimen type). A completed requisition must accompany the specimen. Bone Marrow specimens should be delivered to the lab and processed as soon as possible. All bone marrow specimens obtained should be sent to the laboratory, even if the samples are hold samples.



Processing Instructions

Reject due to:  n/a - send to lab

Spin:  N

Aliquot:  N

Temp:  RT

Storage location:  Requires immediate processing by CPA. CPA - Order "BM SPEC" and match with completed requisition. M - F until 1630, transport specimen, requisition, and labels to 10th floor Cell Markers (station #280); call before tubing specimen to make sure there is someone available to do testing. After hours M - Sat and all day Sun and Holidays - Give BM to Core Hematology. If you have any questions, call the pathologist on call.


Completed requisitions will accompany all specimens from Hem Clinic. Surgery bone marrow requisitions are often sent days before they collect the sample. These requisitions are stored in the 'Bone Marrow binder' on the CPA bookshelf. When a Bone Marrow specimen arrives from surgery, it will arrive with a blue specimen information sheet. Please match up the blue sheet and sample with the requisition from the binder before delivering the sample/paperwork.


Off-site collection:  see full instructions under "Bone Marrow Aspirate" listing.


Temperature Time
Room temp


Off Hours delay of 6 hours has been approved in circumstances where there is no trained personnel at 2 hours but there will be during the next 6 hours. (Morphological changes do occur over time and preference is given to the shortest delay in processing.)

Refrigerated N
Frozen N



STAT Performed TAT

Monday - Friday 0800-1630; Other times as arranged through pathologist on-call.

>1 day


Performing Laboratory

Seattle Children's Laboratory    


Department:  Cell Markers

Phone Number: 206-987-2560



Reference Range

None specified


Method:  Formalin-fixed paraffin sections

Analytical Volume:  None specified

Limitations:  None specified

CPT Codes

contact Laboratory Client Services at (206)-987-2617


Complete & include copy of online HemOnc Bone Marrow Requisition (cases to be evaluated by Seattle Children's Pathology) or Hematopoietic Transplant Marrow Requisition (specimens to be evaluated at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance), as appropriate.


For specimens collected off-site, see "Bone Marrow Aspirate" listing.