Bone marrow is a spongy and fatty tissue that is present inside the bones. It creates the:
· Red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body
· White blood cells that fight infection
· Platelets that are responsible for clot formation
The bone marrow also contains the immature blood forming stem cells that are known as HSCs or hematopoietic stem cells. Most of the cells are differentiated and make copies of themselves. These stem cells are however unspecialized which means that they have the potential to multiply through cell division. They either remain as stem cells or differentiate and get matured into many different kinds of blood cells. The HSC that is present in the bone marrow makes new blood cells throughout a person’s lifespan.
Bone marrow transplant procedure
Bone marrow transplant is a medical procedure. This is done in order to replace the bone marrow that has been destroyed or damaged by a disease, an infection or chemotherapy. In this procedure, the blood stem cells are transplanted which travel to the bone marrow where they produce new blood cells and also promote the growth of new marrow.
The bone marrow transplant procedure replaces the damaged stem cells with healthy cells. This lets the body make enough WBC, RBC, and platelets which help to avoid infections, anemia or bleeding disorders.
In a stem cell therapy, the healthy stem cells are either taken from a donor or they are taken from the patient’s own body. The stem cells are harvested before the start of the radiation or the chemotherapy treatment. The healthy cells are restored and then used in transplantation.
Why is the bone marrow transplant performed?
When a person’s marrow is not healthy enough and does not function properly then the bone marrow transplant is performed. The bone marrow could become unhealthy because of a disease, an infection or if the patient is being treated for cancer. Know the other reasons for bone marrow transplant before you book the surgery packages online.
The reasons why one may need a bone marrow transplant are:
· Aplastic anemia is where the marrow stops to make new blood cells.
· Cancer like leukemia or lymphoma that affects the marrow
· Bone marrow getting damaged due to chemotherapy
· Congenital neutropenia which is an inherited disorder that leads to recurring infections
· Thalassemia, where the body produces an abnormal form of hemoglobin which is an integral part of the red blood cells
· Sickle cell anemia which is a blood disorder that is inherited and causes deformed red blood cells
The types of bone marrow implant
There are two major types of bone marrow implant:
- Autologous transplant – In this method, the patient’s own stem cells are used. This method is used only if the patient has a healthy bone marrow.
- Allogeneic transplant – This process involves using cells from a donor who is a close genetic match. This method is used when the patient’s bone marrow cells are damaged.
Complications associated with bone marrow transplant
The bone marrow transplant is a major surgical procedure and there may be an increase in the risk of:
- Shortness of breath
- Drop in blood pressure
- Chills and fever
These symptoms tend to go away with time but there can also be other severe complications in a bone marrow transplant.
- Graft-versus-host disease is where the donor cell attacks the body
- Graft failure where the transplanted cells do not produce new cells
- Bleeding in the brain, lungs and other body parts
- Damage to vital organs
- Early menopause
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
The age, health of the patient, disease for which he is being treated and the type of transplant are factors that affect the chances of developing the complications.