Bone Marrow Transplant

What Is Bone Marrow Transplant

Types, Process, and Risk

What is it?

A bone marrow transplant procedure is done to replace damaged or defective bone marrow; due to disease, cancer, or primary Bone Marrow disorder. The procedure entails taking blood cells and transplanting them through the bone marrow where they will then produce healthy blood cells anew which will promote the regrowth of new marrow.

Patients visiting us for bone marrow transplants in Delhi are thoroughly screened before being deemed eligible for a bone marrow transplant.  

Bone marrow is a sponge-like fatty tissue inside our bones that produces red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets: all of which are essential for sustaining life. 

Bone marrow contains “immature” stem cells that form blood, called hematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs. Most cells will only make copies of themselves but HSCs are unspecialised, which means they have the potential to multiply through cell division and produce different kinds of blood cells, HSC will make new blood cells throughout your lifespan.

A bone marrow transplant will replace damaged stem cells with healthy cells, and help the body produce sufficient white blood cells, platelets and red blood cells which will then prevent infections, bleeding disorders, or anaemia. Healthy stem cells can be procured from a donor, or a patient’s own body. Read on to know more. 

In case you’re looking for the best bone marrow transplant in Delhi, you can get in touch with us and rest assured that you’ll be under the aegis of the best bone marrow transplant physicians in Delhi.

Who might require a Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone marrow transplants are essentially performed when a person’s bone marrow simply isn’t healthy enough to function properly anymore. This can happen because of blood cancer, or defective marrow conditions like aplastic anaemia, thalassemia, and sickle cell anaemia. Most patients who come to us seeking bone marrow transplants in Dwarka suffer from 

  • aplastic anaemia, a disorder wherein the bone marrow does not make new blood cells
  • cancers that harm the marrow, like leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma
  • Paediatric cancers like neuroblastoma Retinoblastoma PNET.
  • congenital neutropenia is a rare inherited disorder that causes repeated infections
  • sickle cell anaemia, an inherited blood disorder that causes misshapen red blood cells
  • thalassemia, another inherited blood disorder where the body makes an abnormal form of haemoglobin. 


Are there any complications that come with a Bone Marrow Transplant?

A bone marrow transplant is a major medical procedure and does increase the risk of experiencing a drop in blood pressure, headaches, nausea, pain, shortness of breath, chills, and a fever. These symptoms are usually short-term, but bone marrow transplants can cause complications a person’s chances of developing such complications depend on several factors like age, a person’s overall health, and the primary disease transplant. The major complications that can occur due to BMT are 

  • graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a condition where the donor cells attack the recipient’s body. It can lead to skin rash, diarrhoea, and liver failure rarely.
  • graft failure, which happens when transplanted cells don’t produce new cells as expected 
  • bleeding in the lungs, brain, and other parts of the body
  • cataract
  • damage to vital organs
  • early menopause
  • anaemia, because the body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells
  • infections
  • nausea, diarrhoea, or vomiting
  • microsites, a condition which causes inflammation and soreness in the mouth, throat, and stomach. 


Acute complication:

This happens due to high-dose chemotherapy and usually resolves in 2-3 weeks.

  • Anaemia
  • Oral ulcers decreased oral Mellitus
  • Diarrhoea
  • Graft vs host disease due to donor cells' reactivity against the host.
  • Oral infections like Adenovirus, and Cytomegalovirus.
  • Graft infection


Long – Term side effects:

  • Chronic graft vs host disease affecting skin, joints, lungs, Mouth etc.
  • Early menopause
  • Loss of fertility
  • Cataract

Remember, not receiving treatment for bone marrow complications is almost certain to shorten a person’s life considerably, and with the guidance of the best oncologists in Delhi on board, we remain confident in the outcome of the process. In the end, the decision should only be made after thorough consultation with a doctor. 

The two major types of bone marrow transplants.

The reason behind requiring a bone marrow transplant will determine which kind of transplant a patient will need. 

Autologous Transplants

Autologous transplants involve using the person’s stem cells. It typically involves harvesting the cells before beginning any damaging therapy (to cells) like chemotherapy or radiation. After the treatment, the person’s cells are returned to their body.

Unfortunately, This is also a rescue transplant. It enables us to give high-dose chemotherapy to cure cancer cells and then restore the functioning of bone marrow infusion of stem cells.

Allogeneic Transplants

An Allogeneic transplant will involve using cells from a donor, but the donor should be a close genetic match. Therefore, compatible relatives are ideal donors, but genetic matches can also be sought out from donor registries.

Allogeneic transplants will be necessary for patients who have a condition that has damaged their bone marrow cells. This naturally carries a higher risk of complications. 

After Bone Marrow Transplant

The success of all bone marrow transplants primarily depends on how closely the donor and recipient are genetically matched, and at times, it can be rather hard to find a suitable match from unrelated donors.

The typical recovery time from a bone marrow transplant is around 3-4 weeks, although it could take up to a year for a full recovery. Recovery will depend on the condition being treated, chemotherapy, radiation, donor, and where the transplant is performed. 

A BMT is a major procedure, with its own risk, but living without bone marrow is impossible, and receiving no treatment is certain to prove fatal. You should weigh up all options, and consult only the best doctors before making a decision. 

Dr Abhishek Raj

Consultant in Medical Oncology