How Does a Bone Marrow Transplant Work?

A bone marrow transplant is a medical procedure to replace bone marrow that has been damaged or destroyed by disease, infection, or chemotherapy. It involves transplanting blood stem cells that travel to the bone marrow where they produce new blood cells and promote the growth of new marrow. Bone marrow transplant patients require donors between the ages of 18 and 44 as younger donors produce more and higher quality cells than older donors. In allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, a patient’s blood-forming stem cells are eliminated and then replaced with new, healthy ones obtained from a donor or donated umbilical cord blood. 

A best bone marrow transplant doctor in India takes a donor’s healthy blood-forming cells and puts them into the patient’s bloodstream, where they begin to grow and make healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Patients receive high doses of chemotherapy to prepare their body for the transplant. Patients with nonmalignant diseases have a much better success rate post bone marrow transplant with seventy to ninety percent survival with a matched sibling donor and forty to sixty-five percent with unrelated donors. A patient requires a bone marrow transplant when his blood is not healthy enough to support or to fight an underlying disease.   

Some people experience minimal problems with a bone marrow transplant, while others can have complications that require treatment or hospitalization. Most patients require only local anesthesia during the transplant procedure as it can cause brief but sharp pain. The aspiration and biopsy site will be numbed to reduce pain while keeping the patient awake during the operation. To assess whether the newly transplanted cells have survived and started to multiply in the bone marrow, a process called engraftment is done involving daily blood tests of the patient. It takes two to four weeks, sometimes more before doctors have an idea about whether the transplant was successful. 

Bone marrow donations can potentially save the lives of patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers. But it can be difficult finding donors as the search is harder within some ethnic groups. Bone marrow donation guidelines include an assessment of body mass index and height to weight ratio. There is no minimum weight requirement but there are maximum weight limitations for donating the marrow. Parents and siblings are usually preferred donors for the transplant as they are more likely to be compatibly matched than unrelated or unknown donors. 

A donor for bone marrow transplant will need a human leukocyte antigen test to determine whether or not you can be a donor for a patient. The test looks at genetic markers on your white blood cells. You do not need to have the same blood type as the patient to be a donor. The possible side effects of the bone marrow test may include bleeding in the area which is pierced by the needle, bruising may occur if blood leaks out of the vein and collects under the skin, and a slight risk of infection in the wound. 

If you are searching for a bone marrow specialist in India, you can visit the websites of renowned hospitals in the country that perform bone marrow transplants and source the desired information.