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Grand Strand Medical Center
South Strand Medical Center

Surgical Procedures for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)

2 surgical procedures for MDS include:

  • Bone marrow biopsy (both to diagnose and monitor the disease)
  • Central venous infusaport placement

Bone Marrow Biopsy

One minor surgical procedure you will need is a biopsy of your bone marrow. In a bone marrow biopsy, a sample of bone marrow and a small piece of bone are removed and tested for cancer cells. The samples are obtained by inserting a needle through either the top of your pelvis or your breastbone into the soft, spongy marrow. Once there, firm suction on a syringe draws out approximately 2 teaspoons of marrow fluid. Then, a second puncture with the core biopsy needle removes a small piece of tissue.

Some of the biopsy sample will be evaluated by the hematologist and pathologist under the microscope. Some will be sent to the lab to evaluate the chromosomes and DNA for damage. This evaluation, called a cytogenetic study, will help your doctor determine the prognosis of your type of MDS.

A bone marrow biopsy is necessary to identify your disease precisely. Subsequent marrow biopsies may be helpful to assess your progress, but the first one is essential.

Central Venous Infusaport Placement

Your doctor may place a central venous access device under the skin, usually beneath the collarbone. This device, referred to as a “port” can be used to draw blood and to administer blood products or antibiotics. It is often useful if your veins are small or few in number. Because patients with MDS require frequent transfusions in many cases, this device can improve the quality of life for patients by decreasing the need for needle punctures in the arms. Your doctor can discuss the risks and benefits of having such a port with you.

Revision Information

  • Castro-Malaspina H, O’Reilly RJ. Aplastic anemia and the myelodysplastic syndromes. In: Kasper DL, Harrison TR. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.

  • Myelodysplastic syndromes. American Cancer Society website. Available at: Accessed December 20, 2014.