The OnControl bone marrow biopsy technique is superior to the standard manual technique for hematologists-in-training: a prospective, randomized comparison

Hematol Rep. 2011 Oct 19;3(3):e21. doi: 10.4081/hr.2011.e21. Epub 2011 Oct 25.


The purpose of this study was to compare a novel bone marrow device with the standard marrow needle in a prospective, randomized study in a teaching hospital employing hematologists-in-training. The new device, the OnControl Bone Marrow (OBM) Biopsy System, utilizes a battery-powered drill to insert the needle. Fifty-four bone marrows (27 standard and 27 OBM) were performed by 11 fellows under the observation and supervision of 3 attending hematologists and 1 research technologist. The primary endpoint of the study, the mean length of the marrow biopsy specimens, a surrogate for marrow quality, was determined by a pathologist in a blinded manner. The mean length of the marrow biopsy specimens was significantly longer (56%) for the OBM group (15.3 mm) than for the standard bone marrow (SBM) group (9.8 mm), P<0.003. An objectively determined secondary endpoint; mean procedure time, skin-to-skin; also favored the OBM group (175 s) versus the SBM group (292 s), P<0.007. Several subjective secondary endpoints also favored the OBM group. Only minor adverse events were encountered in the OBM and SBM study groups. It was concluded that bone marrow procedures (BMPs) performed by hematologists-in-training were significantly faster and superior in quality when performed with the OBM compared to the SBM. These data suggest that the OBM may be considered a new standard of care for adult hematology patients. OBM also appears to be a superior method for training hematology fellows.

Keywords: bone marrow biopsy; core biopsy; hematologists-in-training.; powered biopsy; trephine biopsy.