Everything You Need To Know About Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Treatment

A blood or marrow transplant is a treatment option for individuals with a blood cancer like lymphoma and Leukemia, or a blood disorder such as sickle cell disease. A blood or marrow transplant replaces diseased blood-forming cells with healthy ones. BMT has cured thousands of individuals of their diseases. On this page, we will blood or marrow transplant in details covering topics such as what is a blood or marrow transplant, what are the complications of blood or marrow transplant surgery, what is the cost of a blood or marrow transplant in India, which are the best hospitals for a blood or marrow transplant in India and who are the top surgeons for a blood or marrow transplant in India.

Dr. Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui

Review By Dr. Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui
Award-winning CEO of Marlin Medical Assistance Pvt. Ltd

Mar 4, 2024

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What is bone marrow transplant?

What is bone marrow transplant?

A bone marrow transplant is a surgical procedure in which damaged or diseased bone marrow is replaced with a healthy one. The bone marrow is a spongy tissue found at the centre of the bones, and is responsible for making blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Healthy bone marrow cells can be received from your own body or from a donor. A bone marrow transplant is also known as a stem mobile transplant. Today, stem cells are generally amassed from the blood than from bone marrow. Due to this reason, this procedure now is often called a stem cell transplant.

Types of bone marrow transplant

Autologous bone marrow transplant: In this approach, stem cells are extracted from your own body before you are administered high-dose radiation treatment or chemotherapy. After this, the stem cells are preserved in a cold place. After the completion of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, the stems cells are placed back into the body to enable them carry out proper function of blood cell formation. It is also referred to a rescue transplant.

Allogeneic bone marrow transplant: In this procedure, stem cells are taken from another person called the donor. The donor’s genes should partly match your genes. Some special tests are carried out to check if a donor is a good match for you. Mostly, parents, children, and close relatives might also be good matches. A sibling is generally the best match. You can look for the best matches in  national bone marrow registries.

Umbilical cord blood transplants: This is a type of an allogeneic transplant. Here, stem cells are taken from a newbo baby’s umbilical cord after birth. These stem cells are then frozen and stored safely until they are needed for a transplant. There is less need for finding a good match as umbilical cord blood cells have not matured. These stem cells are smaller, hence, the blood count may take much longer to recover.

Causes and Symptoms

Causes

  • Smoking
  • Aging
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Benzene exposure
  • Radiation exposure
  • A genetic syndrome
  • Certain blood disorders
  • Immune disorders
  • Viral infections

Symptoms

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Fever or chills
  • Weakness
  • Frequent infections
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Losing weight
  • Enlarged liver/spleen
  • Bleeding, bruising
  • Recurrent nose bleeding
  • Tiny reddish spots on the skin

Diagnosis

Blood tests: The results of a CBC and peripheral blood smear form an essential part of detecting leukemia. These blood tests help reveal different findings based on the type of leukemia.

Flow cytometry: A flow cytometry test may tell whether the tumour cells contain a normal or abnormal quamtity of DNA, and the rate at which the tumour is growing. This test is an accurate indicator in finding the person’s exact kind of lymphoma or leukemia. 

Biopsy: A biopsy will be used to find the type of leukemia, the overall growth rate of the tumour, and whether the disorder has spread.  Biopsy removes a small sample of bone marrow. Since leukemia starts in bone marrow, observing these cells is an important part to diagnose leukemias.

X-rays: This is used to produce images of the inner parts of the body. In some leukemia patients, regular X-rays of their chest might be needed to check whether they have a lung infection.

Computed tomography (CT): It uses X-rays to produce detailed pictures of inside the body. CT scans will show swellings in the lymph nodes and organs.

Preparation of Treatment

You need to undergo a physical exam as well as tests to check your blood and find out how well the heart, liver, lungs and other organs are working. It is vital to get your body ready. You must remain hydrated and consume a healthy diet. Getting sufficient calories and nutrients is essential to keep your strength up throughout the procedure. A strong and healthy body responds better and helps in recovery. Keep yourself active before your transplant. It is important essential to have a friend or family members to help you with other details. You should make arrangements for a caregiver who would help you throughout your recovery phase. Prepare yourself and your family members emotionally for the transplant. You should plan who will manage all the expenses associated with the transplant.

Infection: Chemotherapy and some other treatments weaken the body's infection-fighting ability. This is particularly true of treatment given for bone marrow transplant as the bone marrow is part of your immune system. Nearly two weeks after your transplant, the immune system will start to recover. You may have a risk of infections in the first 1-2 weeks after transplant.

Bleeding: Acute bleeding is common after bone marrow transplant that is associated with morbidity and mortality.

Fertility problems: Most patients who undergo a bone marrow transplant may become infertile. If a person had a reduced intensity transplant, they are less likely to become infertile.

Cataract: Cataract is also a major risk after BMT. Single-dose TBI leads to the highest risk of cataracts. But the risk of cataract in recipients of fractionated-TBI is comparatively higher than in individuals who receive no TBI.

Kidney/liver problem: Liver dysfunction may occur after bone marrow transplantation. However, the importance of graft versus host diseases and other factors, like infection, radiation, and drugs, haven’t been clearly established.

Respiratory distress: Some side effects of the procedure can directly affect the lungs, leading to difficulty breathing. If you experience shortness of breath, you might use supplemental oxygen while the lungs continue to recover.

Graft-versus-host diseases (GVHD): The transplanted stem cells are replacing the immune system. However, sometimes the transplanted immune system can act against your body, affecting your organs. GVHD can be mild or life-threatening. The doctor will look carefully for early signs of GVHD and advise medications to control the reaction when it occurs.

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Best Hospitals for Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Treatment

Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi
Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi
Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi

Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi Press Enclave Road, Mandir Marg, Saket New Delhi 110017 India

Cost of the treatment

Cost of bone marrow transplant

The cost of bone marrow transplant in India ranges from $19500 - $40,000 depending on donor match. If donor is full match with recipient then $19,000 to $25,000 but if donor is half match then cost go up to $40,000. The average cost of bone marrow transplant in India may vary depending on the type of transplant recommended. Bone marrow transplant cost in India is much affordable, and the overall success rates are quite high. India has seen a consistent rise in the total number of bone marrow transplants performed annually. This could be due to the cost-effectiveness of bone marrow transplant in India and high success rates comparable to global standards.

Recovery

Recovery after bone marrow transplant

Recovery time after bone marrow transplant vary. The duration of time it takes to resume normal life will depend on your specific condition. An infection after the transplant can extend the healing period. After your final stem cell transfusion, it generally takes 2-3 weeks for the transplanted cells to start producing normal blood cells. Your risk for infections is quite high until the immune system fully recovers. Hence, continue to follow the infection prevention steps suggested by your care team. During the recovery period, it is important to follow a neutropenic diet for 100 days after your transplant. Stay active as much as possible to build and keep your strength. Avoid exercising on dusty days. Limit your exposure to the sun during your first year after transplant. It might take up to one year after the transplant to retu to your normal work.

Recovery
Dr. Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui

Written by

Dr. Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui

Award-winning CEO of Marlin Medical Assistance Pvt. Ltd

Dr. Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui is an award-winning CEO of Marlin Medical Assistance Pvt. Ltd., a professionally managed medical tourism holding company and the active Director of Alshifa Healthcare Services Pvt. Ltd., a full-service medical tourism aggregation agency servicing JCI and NABH/ NABL accredited Hospitals across the country’s 5 locations.

In addition to Marlin, Alshifa also includes Media Group, which houses Arabic Medical Tourism e-Magazine healthandtour.com. The E-magazine “مجلة الصحة والسياحة” provides a wide scope of medical tourism information to healthcare travellers to find a safe, effective and cost-saving solution for their medical and healthcare needs. In addition to running E-Magazine, Dr. Mohammad Afzal also serves as Delhi-state coordinator in Foundation of Healthcare and Wellness Promotion focused on bringing India’s Healthcare closer to the world and smoothen world’s access to Indian Healthcare.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT)

Transplants for individuals with a non-malignant disease have a better success rate with a 70%- 90% survival rate with a matched sibling donor and 36%-65% with unrelated donors.

Returning home after a bone marrow transplant, the patient can expect a slow recovery. They will have to manage your food, medicines, activities, hygiene, and contacts. Eating healthy food, taking enough fluid and medications as prescribed need to be top priorities. Several weeks after the transplant, the person can resume their normal life.

Individuals who had radiation therapy and chemotherapy or who had cancer treatment in the past five years might not be able to donate bone marrow. People with chronic hip, spine or back pain, who are receiving treatment can also not donate bone marrow.

There is no age limit for undergoing bone marrow transplantation. Every transplant program has its own limitations. For example, a program might not accept people older than 80 years, while another might have no age limit. Some conditions may rule out a transplant.
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