How to Prepare for Bone Marrow Transplant?

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The process for bone marrow transplant is really a long one and it requires certain preparations in advance.

Bone marrow transplantation is one of the best options for genetic disease and blood cancer treatment in India. Here’s a quick overview of the steps to prepare for the transplant.

Pre-Transplant Procedure and Tests

There would be lots of tests conducted before performing bone marrow transplant. This is done to ensure that the general health condition of the patient is good to proceed with the transplantation process. The evaluation of these tests ranges from few days to weeks. Usually, the entire process takes around 3-4 weeks to complete.

Along with the tests, the surgeon would implant a long thin tube in the neck or chest’s large vein. This is the central line and remains for the entire duration of the transplantation. They use this central line to infuse the stem cells and other medications into the body.

Stem Cells Collection for Transplant

A procedure called Apheresis is done to collect the stem cells. Usually, this process is carried out if the transplant is planned to use your own stem cell. Before this procedure is carried out, injections are given to the patient daily to increase the production of stem cells inside the body.

The generated stem cells are collected for the transplantation. If the transplantation is planned using the stem cells of a donor, then you need to get the right donor. The stem cells are gathered from the donor through the stem cell harvesting process. These stem cells can be collected from the bone marrow of the donor’s blood.

Another process is allogeneic transplant, which uses stem cells from the umbilical cords of babies. The umbilical cords are taken from new-born babies, frozen and stored in the blood bank until it is required for the transplantation of bone marrow.

Reduced-Intensity Conditioning

This is done based on the health history and age. Low doses of treatment are prescribed by the doctor to kill some cancer cells and suppress the immune system slightly.

Once this is done, the stem cells of the donor are infused into the blood or body. Then, the infused stem cells of the donor would fight against the cancer cells present in the body and help recover from the existing condition. Over time, the donor’s stem cells would replace the cells in the patient’s bone marrow.

Removal of Central Line

After the transplantation is done, the patient is prescribed with lots of medication and supportive therapies. During that time, the central line could be at the risk of catching infections. So, it is removed few weeks after the transplantation process. Removing of the central cord is done at the outpatient clinic using a local anaesthetic. The speed of patient’s recovery also on how fast this central line is removed after the transplantation.

During the process, the patient undergoes many side effects like hair loss, fatigue, infertility etc. These side effects can be handled by taking proper medication and measures.

This is how one should prepare for the transplantation of bone marrow.

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