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What is Bone Marrow Transplant?

A bone marrow transplant is a procedure in which healthy blood-forming stem cells are infused into the body to replace bone marrow that is incapable of producing sufficient healthy blood cells. A stem cell transplant is another name for a bone marrow transplant.

If your bone marrow stops working and does not produce enough healthy blood cells, you may require a bone marrow transplant.

Types of Bone marrow transplant?

Bone marrow transplants may use your own cells (autologous transplant) or cells from a donor (allogeneic transplant).

Allogenic Transplant. An allogeneic stem cell transplant replaces bone marrow that isn’t producing enough healthy blood cells with healthy blood stem cells from a donor. Allogeneic stem cell transplantation is also known as allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.

A donor could be a family member, a friend, or someone you don’t know. Blood stem cells that can be used in an allogeneic stem cell transplant include:

  • Obtained from the donor’s blood
  • Bone marrow was extracted from a donor’s hipbone.
  • Blood was drawn from a donated umbilical cord.

Autologous Transplant. An autologous stem cell transplant replaces diseased or damaged bone marrow with healthy blood stem cells from your own body. Autologous stem cell transplantation is also known as autologous bone marrow transplantation.

Using cells from your own body during a stem cell transplant has some advantages over using donor stem cells. If you have an autologous stem cell transplant, for example, you won’t have to worry about incompatibility between the donor’s cells and your own cells.

If your body produces enough healthy bone marrow cells, an autologous stem cell transplant may be an option. These cells can be collected, frozen, and kept for future use.

Why Bone marrow transplant is performed?

A bone marrow transplant can be used to: 

  • Allow treatment with high doses of chemotherapy or radiation in a safe manner by replacing or rescuing the bone marrow damaged by the treatment
  • Replace bone marrow that is no longer functioning properly with new stem cells.
  • Provide new stem cells, which can directly kill cancer cells.

Bone marrow transplants can help people with both cancerous and noncancerous diseases, such as:

  • Acute leukemia
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy
  • Aplastic anemia is a type of anemia.
  • Syndromes of bone marrow failure
  • Chronic leukemia
  • Hemoglobinopathies
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer.
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Metabolic inborn errors
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s (NHL)
  • Plasma cell dysfunction
  • The POEMS syndrome
  • Amyloidosis primary

Risk associated with Bone marrow transplant?

A bone marrow transplant can be dangerous. Some people have minor complications after a bone marrow transplant, while others may have serious complications that necessitate treatment or hospitalization. Complications can sometimes be fatal.

Your risks are determined by a variety of factors, including the disease or condition that necessitated the transplant, the type of transplant, your age, and your overall health.

Complications from a bone marrow transplant may include:

  • Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (a complication of allogeneic transplant only)
  • Failure of a stem cell (graft)
  • Organ deterioration
  • Infections
  • Cataracts
  • Infertility
  • New forms of cancer
  • Death

What can you expect prior to the Bone marrow transplant procedure?

Several tests will be performed prior to your transplant to determine the type of bone marrow cells you require. You may also be subjected to radiation or chemotherapy to eliminate all cancer cells or marrow cells before receiving new stem cells.

Transplanting bone marrow can take up to a week. As a result, you must make plans before your first transplant session. These may consist of:

  • Housing near the hospital for your family’s insurance coverage, bill payment, and other financial concerns
  • Taking care of children
  • Taking a medical leave of absence from work and packing essentials
  • Arranging transportation to and from the hospital

Your immune system will be compromised during treatment, reducing its ability to fight infections. As a result, you’ll be staying in a section of the hospital reserved for people receiving bone marrow transplants. This reduces your exposure to anything that could cause an infection.

What experiences you encounter during a Bone marrow transplant procedure?

You will have the transplant when your doctor believes you are ready. The process is similar to that of a blood transfusion. If you are having an allogeneic transplant, your donor’s bone marrow cells will be harvested a day or two before your procedure. If your own cells are used, they will be obtained from a stem cell bank. Cells are collected from both hipbones using a needle during a bone marrow harvest. You’re under anesthesia for this procedure, meaning you’ll be asleep and free of any pain.

What experiences you encounter after Bone marrow transplant procedure is done?

Blood carries new stem cells to bone marrow. They multiply and produce healthy blood cells called Engraftment. Blood cell counts usually return to normal after several weeks. Some people take longer. Blood and other tests will follow your bone marrow transplant. Nausea and diarrhea may require medication. After your bone marrow transplant, you’ll be monitored. Infections or other complications may require several days in the hospital. For close monitoring, you’ll need to stay near the hospital for weeks or months, depending on the transplant type and risk of complications. Until your bone marrow produces enough red blood cells and platelets, you may need transfusions. Post-transplant infections and other complications may increase. To check for late complications, you’ll see your doctor for life.

What is the end result of Bone marrow Transplant?

Some diseases can be cured or put into remission with a bone marrow transplant. The goals of a bone marrow transplant vary depending on your condition, but they typically include disease control or cure, life extension, and quality of life improvement. A bone marrow transplant has few side effects and complications for some people. Others may experience short- and long-term complications and side effects. The severity of side effects and the success of the transplant can be difficult to predict.

It’s important to remember that many people who have had transplants have also had some extremely difficult days during the transplant process. However, they had successful transplants and have returned to normal activities with a high quality of life.

What diet and nutrition you should follow after bone marrow transplant?

You may need to change your diet after your bone marrow transplant to stay healthy and avoid gaining too much weight. Your nutrition specialist (dietitian) and other transplant team members will collaborate with you to develop a healthy-eating plan that meets your needs and complements your lifestyle. Your dietitian can also recommend foods to help you cope with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, such as nausea.

Some of your dietitian’s suggestions might be:

  • Following food safety guidelines to avoid foodborne illnesses
  • Consuming a variety of healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, and fish, legumes, and healthy fats, such as olive oil
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Grapefruit and grapefruit juice should be avoided due to their interaction with a class of immunosuppressive medications.

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