Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone Marrow Transplant

A bone marrow transplant is a procedure that is performed to replace bone marrow that has been damaged or destroyed by disease, infection, or chemotherapy to help your body make enough platelets, white blood cells, or red blood cells to avoid infections, bleeding disorders, or anemia.

Bone Marrow Transplant - Overview

Bone Marrow Transplant

A bone marrow transplant is a procedure that is performed to replace bone marrow that has been damaged or destroyed by disease, infection, or chemotherapy to help your body make enough platelets, white blood cells, or red blood cells to avoid infections, bleeding disorders, or anemia.  This procedure involves transplanting blood stem cells, which move to the bone marrow to further produce new blood cells and promote the growth of new marrow.

Bone Marrow Transplant - Symptoms

Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone marrow transplants are performed in case a person’s marrow isn’t healthy enough to function properly. This could be due to chronic infections, disease, or cancer treatments. Some reasons for a bone marrow transplant include:

  • sickle cell anemia, an inherited blood disorder that causes misshapen red blood cells
  • Plastic anemia, a disorder in which the marrow stops making new blood cells
  • cancers that affect the marrow, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma
  • damaged bone marrow due to chemotherapy
  • congenital neutropenia, which is an inherited disorder that causes recurring infections
  • thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder where the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin, an integral part of red blood cells

Bone Marrow Transplant - Pre-Procedure

Bone Marrow Transplant

Before your transplant, you’ll undergo several tests to discover what type of bone marrow cells you need.

Your doctor may also recommend some therapies like radiation or chemotherapy to kill off all cancer cells or marrow cells before you get the new stem cells.

Bone marrow transplants take up to a week. Before your treatment, your health care team will explain to you the transplant process and answer all the questions. The pre-transplant period is characterized by identification of the appropriate type of transplant that will be done and, if necessary, finding an appropriate donor for the transplant.

Bone Marrow Transplant - During Procedure

Bone Marrow Transplant

Before performing actual bone marrow transplant the patient is given general anesthesia to allow the surgeon to easily and painlessly extract the cells by inserting needles in the region around his or her pelvic bone. The surgeon will then test the cells of the patient to make sure they are clean and healthy, after which they are preserved until the scheduled transplant.

When your doctor thinks you’re ready, you’ll have the transplant which is similar to a blood transfusion. If the patient has an allogeneic transplant, bone marrow cells will be harvested from the donor a day or two before the procedure. If the patient’s own cells will be used, they’ll be retrieved from the stem cell bank.

Cells are collected in two ways:

During a bone marrow harvest, cells will be collected from both hipbones through a needle. Patient will be given anesthesia for this procedure, meaning that the patient will be asleep and free of any pain.

The entire BMT procedure takes approx 3 to 4 hours from the time the stem cells enter the body and reach and bone marrow to start producing healthy cells. This process is called engraftment.

Bone Marrow Transplant - Post-Procedure

Bone Marrow Transplant

The success rate of bone marrow transplant usually depends on how closely the donor and recipient genetically match and in some cases; it can be very difficult to find a good match among unrelated donors. After the procedure is finished the state of engraftment will be regularly monitored by your doctor. It generally takes between 10-28 days to finish after the initial transplant. The very first sign of engraftment is a rising white blood cell count. This will let help the patient to know that the transplant is starting to make new blood cells. The typical recovery time for this treatment is about three months. However, it may take about a year for you to recover fully.

Bone Marrow Transplant - Risk & Complications

Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone marrow transplant does involve many complications because only a small amount of the bone marrow is removed from the body. The very common symptoms that the patient may experience after the treatment might include stiffness, slight pain, and weakness for a few days.

Complications might be mild or very serious. The major complications that you may face after the treatment may include:

  • Rashes or blisters
  • Change in appetite
  • Stomach upset
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Jaundice
  • Tea-colored urine
  • Blood in your stool

In some of the many cases, graft-versus-host diseases can become a long-lasting condition. In this case, you may get –

  • Trouble with your breathing
  • Persistent cough
  • Irritation in your sexual organs.
  • Dry eyes
  • Pain in the joints
  • Sores in your mouth

Bone Marrow Transplant - Doctors

Bone Marrow Transplant
  • Dr. Rahul Bhargava

    Dr. Rahul Bhargava

    HOD, MBBS, MD, DM

    Hematologist

    15 Years of Experience

  • Dr. Vikas Dua

    Dr. Vikas Dua

    Senior Consultant, MBBS, MD, Fellowship

    Pediatric Oncologist

    21 Years of Experience

  • Dr. Rahul Naithani

    Dr. Rahul Naithani

    Consultant , MBBS, MD, DM

    Hematologist

    6 Year of Experience

  • Dr. Esha Kaul

    Dr. Esha Kaul

    Consultant , Fellowship, Diplomat, MBBS

    Hematologist

    12 years of experience

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