What iis the benefit of a Bone Marrow Transplant?
To understand bone marrow transplant it is crucial to know what bone marrow is.
Bone marrow is a a soft tissue and it is found inside a few bones in the body. It contains stem cells that lead to the production of both white and red blood cells.
In the case of a disease such as cancer, the stems cells either produce an irregular count of these blood cells or make abnormal cells, which pose a serious risk to life as these blood cells are responsible for maintaining the immune system and carryi oxygen throughout the body.
Bone marrow transplant is a technique of replacing the diseased bone marrow with a healthier bone marrow from oneís own body or from a donor.
A bone marrow transplant can only be carried after assessing the eligibility of a person. Health, age and the state of a personís disease play an important role.
Bone marrow transplants can be autologous (where the donor and receiver are the same person) and allogenic (where a donor is a different person whose genetic make-up matches well with that of the patient).
Prior to a bone marrow transplant, the stem cells from your own body or from the donor are extracted through a surgical procedure from a specific part in the hip bone, otherwise known as the iliac crest.
These are then stored under monitored conditions until the transplant. During the procedure of a bone marrow transplant, the receiver is given anesthesia, which is followed by the insertion of a catheter, or a thin tube, into a chest vein.
The bone marrow is transferred to the receiverís blood through the catheter and takea about 30 minutes. The receiver is monitored.
In case of a successful bone marrow transplant, the stem cells reach the bone cavities with ease resulting in the production of regular blood cells.
A bone marrow recipient is required to stay at the hospital for a span of three or more weeks during which doctors analyze the success of the transplant surgery. Patients are often kept in special conditions to avoid the possibility of coming into contact with infections.
After the discharge, physicians and their medical assistants make regular visits to the recovering patient to monitor the person and administer any recommended mediciations.
It takes about eight weeks for a person recovering from a bone marrow transplant to return to work.
Bone marrow transplants are an expensive procedure. Furthermore, the possibility of success with this surgery is entirely dependant on the recipientís age and health. It is also possible that the recipientís body might reject the transplanted bone marrow leading to severe complications.
As far as results are concerned, it has been observed that in cases where the donor and the recipient are the same person (autologous transplant), the chances of survival and smooth recovery are higher.