Trepanning or trephines: a history of bone marrow biopsy


Dr Liakat A. Parapia, Clinical Director, Pathology, Consultant Haematologist, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Duckworth Lane, Bradford BD9 6RJ, UK.


Trepanning of bone is the oldest known procedure carried out by man and yet it is only in the last 100 years that we have made use of the technique to diagnose and treat haematological disorders. These advances have been made possible by improvements in instruments, techniques, anaesthesia, laboratory processing and the expertise of haematologists to report the specimens. With the advent of immunological markers and molecular biology, the need for quality bone marrow specimens, if anything, has increased. It will be many years before the bone marrow aspiration/trephine procedure is relegated to the annals of history.