Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone Marrow Transplant

To understand bone marrow transplant it is crucial to know what bone marrow is. Well, bone marrow, a soft tissue, found inside a few bones in the body, contains stem cells that lead to the production of both white and red blood cells. In case of a disease such as cancer, the stems cells either produce an irregular count of these blood cells or make abnormal cells, which pose a serious risk to life as these blood cells are responsible for maintaining the immunity system and carrying oxygen throughout the body. Bone marrow transplant is a technique of replacing the diseased bone marrow with a healthier bone marrow from one’s own body or from a donor.

Bone marrow transplant can only be carried after assessing the eligibility of a person. Health, age and the state of a person’s disease play an important role. Bone marrow transplants can be autologous (where the donor and receiver is the same person) and allogenic (where the donor is a different person whose genetic make-up matches well with that of the patient).

Prior to a bone marrow transplant the stem cells from your own body or from the donor are extracted through a surgical procedure from a specific part in the hip bone, otherwise known as the iliac crest. These are then stored under monitored conditions until the transplant. During the procedure of a bone marrow transplant, the receiver is given anesthesia, which is followed by the insertion of a catheter, or a thin tube, into a chest vein. The bone marrow is transferred to the receiver’s blood through the catheter for a span if 30 minutes. Post this, the receiver is monitored. In case of a successful bone marrow transplant, the stem cells reach the bone cavities with ease resulting in the production of regular blood cells.

A bone marrow recipient is required to stay at the hospital for a span of three or more weeks during which doctors analyze the success of the transplant surgery. Patients are often kept in special conditions to avoid the possibility of coming into contact with infections. After the discharge, physicians and their medical assistants pay regular visits to the recovering patient to monitor the health conditions and administer the recommended medicines. It takes about eight weeks for a person recovering from a bone marrow transplant to return to work.

Bone marrow transplant is an expensive procedure. Furthermore, the possibility of success with this surgery is entirely dependant on the recipient’s age and health. It is also possible that the recipient’s body might reject the transplanted bone marrow leading to severe complications. As far as results are concerned, it has been observed that in cases where the donor and the recipient is the same person (autologous transplant), the chances of survival and smooth recovery are higher.