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Bone Marrow Transplant Services
Physical examination - assessing general level of health
Before you undergo any procedure, our experts will assess your overall health condition. You will undergo a complete physical checkup. We may also be required to run scans in order to check the health of your internal organs like the liver, heart, kidney etc. Some of the medication used during the recovery process could cause problems with internal organs, so it's important to know how well they're functioning beforehand, in order to minimize the risk of infection if you are not in the pink of health.
If you have a cancer related condition, then a biopsy may have to be done, in order to find out if the cancer is remission.
Recovery after the bone marrow transplant depends your health before the transplant, so a thorough physical examination is absolutely crucial and will determine the rate of recovery and indicate the chances of recurrence of cancer.
Harvesting - obtaining stem cells to be used in transplant
After physical examination is completed, stems cells are harvested. The commonly used method in adults involves removing blood from the body, separating stem cells from other cells and then returning the blood to the body.
Alternatively, stem cells are directly removed from the bone marrow of the hip bone using a special needle and syringe. This may be recommended for certain conditions that require a transplant, or if the donor is a child.
Conditioning - preparing body for the transplant
As part of conditioning you'll be given a range of medicines to get you ready for the cell transplant. This is called conditioning treatment and involves using high doses of chemotherapy and occasionally radiation. It is carried out to destroy the existing bone marrow cells and make room for the transplanted tissue, destroy any existing cancer cells and to stop the immune system from working, in order to reduce the risk of the transplant being rejected.
Conditioning usually takes between four to seven days. During which time you'll need to stay in hospital.
Transplanting the stem cells
Transplant is normally possible one or two days after conditioning has finished, where the donated stem cells are passed into the body through the central line. This process may takes between one to several hours to complete, depending on the type of blood cells being used.
Transplant is not painful and you'll be awake throughout the procedure
Recovery period - monitoring for complications or side effects
Transplant generally leaves you feeling weak, you may experience vomiting, diarrhoea and/or a loss of appetite.
The initial stage of recovery involves waiting for stem cells to reach the bone marrow and start producing new blood cells. This is known as engraftment and normally occurs 15-30 days after the transplant takes place. During this period you will need a highly nutritious diet with high protein requirement.
As your white blood count is low, you will need to stay in a germ-free environment. Once engraftment has occurred, your bone marrow will begin to produce blood cells. However, you will be weak from the effects of the chemotherapy and still risk developing infection, as it can take as long as one to two years for the immune system to get strong.
Most people are well enough to be discharged from hospital between one and three months after undergoing a bone marrow transplant. However, if you develop an infection, you may not be able to leave the hospital for more than three months after the transplant.