View Full Version : How painful???

02-05-2011, 02:12 PM
I'm looking for anyone who by any chance has had first hand experience with bone marrow and or spinal cord fluid donations, or extractions. First off are you put under for these procedures, from what I've learned your usually not for spinal cord fluid extractions. Anyway, if there is anyone with first hand experience, how painful was it? Scale from 1-10 10 being the worst pain you ever felt in you life.

How painful during the procedure (if awake) and how painful was it afterwards? Also what was the healing time frame for such procedures?

Thank you for any information you have!

02-05-2011, 07:11 PM
I had a myelogram done, where the inject dye into your spine then extract it. They take some spinal fluid with it to insure they got all the dye out. I didn't feel any pain afterward. They probably didn't take much fluid out.

02-05-2011, 07:41 PM
I donated bone marrow in 2003. The operation was under general anesthesia. Waking up the instructions were to not move for ... four hours (if I recall right).

The worst things were:
- About ten days before the surgery, I had an autologous blood donation of two pints of blood that I got back during the surgery. I've donated over two gallons throughout my life and knew how my body reacted to the loss. Very little activity wiped my out. The worst of this was I got horrific cold and hot flashes, ranging from teeth chattering to virtually panting like a dog. All this disappeared during the surgery and I got my blood back.

- I was extremely sore after the surgery. Pain was about an 8, although it certainly spiked if I bumped myself. Since I'm rather clutsy, that was often.

Healing time for me was several weeks. The first week was the worst pain, of course, then it tapered off quickly. It took about a month for me to feel like myself.

The absolute worst: hearing the news he didn't make it. His wife wrote me that he died of pneumonia (he was too weak to fight it off). The autopsy showed the transplant was working. I weep to this day.

02-05-2011, 07:59 PM
I sat at Mr. Maryn's side during a bone marrow extraction. They used only local anesthetic, which took about 5 minutes to take its full effect, then punched in--and I do mean 'punched'--with a needle both long and thick, to aspirate the marrow. He winced and gripped my hand tighter, but that was about it; the pain was tolerable.

There's an episode of the TV show "House" in which a black teenager gets a marrow extraction and plays the pain level exactly right. If you watch them online or on DVD, it's season 3, episode name "Family."

Mr. Maryn was sore afterward but not incapacitated. IIRC, it took about two weeks before the soreness was completely gone.

Maryn, glad that whole time is well behind us

02-05-2011, 08:29 PM
Firsthand reports are ideal.

You also may find Mayo Clinic's patient information on bone marrow biopsy/aspiration (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bone-marrow-biopsy/MY00305/DSECTION=what-you-can-expect) and lumbar puncture (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lumbar-puncture/MY00982/DSECTION=what-you-can-expect) (spinal tap) helpful. The links are to the "what to expect" pages, but there is additional information available about each topic via links on the left.

Kitty Pryde
02-05-2011, 08:39 PM
Check out the Be The Match Foundation site. I registered as a donor last yr and they inform you that it is less painful than it used to be/it is commonly thought.

02-05-2011, 08:48 PM
I had a sample of bone marrow taken once. I had a local anesthetic and I honestly thought it was going to be a simple needle, like having blood. Holy shit was it not!

A needle as long as my hand, I kid you not. I nearly didn't do it, I'd have jumped off the table if I wasn't virtually paralyzed from the anesthetic.

They took it from my hip. And believe me, it takes some force to get in there. Someone above said 'punched' and that is really what it is like. At the time I felt the blow and the force, although it didn't hurt then. It was uncomfortable, and because I could see it, I was freaking out a bit.

The next day there was some brusiing, although it took another day for the brusing to actually show and then it looked like I had been hit by a truck. There was no pain initially, but when the anesthetic wore off it was sore and slightly swollen for a couple of days. I also took a bad reaction to the disinfectant wipe they used and I came out in an almight rash the next day which blistered my skin and took about a week to heal.

02-05-2011, 10:36 PM
I've never had either procedure myself but I do a lot of them. I can give you some background.

Lumbar punctures (spinal taps) are generally no big deal at the time -- local anesthetic is all that's needed. The most common pain is afterward, the so-called "spinal headache" that can come from the pressure difference of taking out the fluid. Those headaches can persist for a day or more and sometimes need to have the hole in the the membrane surrounding the spinal fluid cavity where the needle went (the dura) sealed off with what we call a blood patch.

Bone marrow aspirations and biopsies, as folks have said, require a big, long needle. The really long one that shaldna mentioned was the biopsy needle; it needs to be long enough to get a good core of marrow when it traverses the space inside the hip bone. And the surface of the bone, the cortex, is hard, so we need to push really hard to get through it. I put on a couple of pairs of gloves because it hurts my palm to push that hard. The reason for the bruising afterward is that we punch a hole in the bone and there's nothing to seal it afterward; bone, being rigid, just sits there with the hole oozing blood out until it ultimately clots off. Hence the big bruise in the surrounding muscle.

02-06-2011, 10:41 AM
wow Thanks so much for the information everyone! It was a great help

02-06-2011, 04:55 PM
Also on a second note. Could anyone tell me how long the bone marrow extraction takes? I read it "doesnt take long" but how long is that?

02-06-2011, 08:11 PM
If memory serves, Mr. Maryn and I were in and out of the treatment room in 20-30 minutes. The literal extraction itself, maybe three to five? It's been a long time, so I don't really trust my memory.

Maryn, who's lost the grocery list today--seen it?

02-06-2011, 08:42 PM
Often there is more time spent in getting settled on the table and the practitioner cleaning the skin, draping sterile cloths, and putting on sterile gear than in the actual needle part. Mind you, it sometimes can take a few tries, depending on the experience of the person doing it and certain other things.

02-07-2011, 05:14 PM
Thanks, guys, I've finished the scene with all the information i'm gathered and that was stated there. I actually posted the scene in Horror SYW, if you want to give it a read and see if i got all the facts and details right!