A bone marrow transplant is a procedure involving the replacement of damaged bone marrow with healthy donor cells. Bone marrow may get damaged by infection, after chemotherapy or some other ailment. During the procedure, the stem cells are transplanted in the bloodstream. These stem cells travel to the bone marrow and make new cells to enhance the growth of new bone marrow.
Why is a Bone Marrow Transplant Needed?
A bone marrow transplant may be needed in the following cases:
- To replace damaged and non-functioning bone marrow with a healthy one. The bone marrow may get damaged from conditions such as leukaemia, aplastic anaemia, sickle cell anaemia.
- To create regeneration of a new immune system to help fight against residual leukaemia or cancer that could not be killed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Replacement of the bone marrow with the one that is genetically healthy bone marrow for the prevention of damage from a genetic illness.
Cost of Bone Marrow Transplant in India
The bone marrow transplant cost in India is affordable with world-class technology and the best experts to give a high success rate. An approximate cost for a bone marrow transplant in India ranges between 15,000 to 30,000 USD. However, the exact price depends upon :
- the type of bone marrow transplant
- the city of treatment
- the hospital
- the expertise of the doctor
- The overall health of the patient
- The complexity of the case
Time is taken to recover from a bone marrow transplant
- During the first weeks and months after leaving the hospital, the patient will have to make frequent trips to an outpatient clinic. This will allow doctors to track the patient’s progress. These visits will become less often over time.
- Staff at the clinic will teach the patient and their caregiver how to care for your central line (which will stay in place for at least 6 months after your transplant), how to watch for and prevent infections, and other ways to care
- Recovery from a stem cell transplant can be slow. It takes 6 to 12 months to recover normal blood cell levels and immune function. During this time, it's important to take steps to reduce the risk of infection, get plenty of rest, and follow the doctor’s instructions about medicines and checkups.
The duration of stay in the hospital depends on:
- How much chemotherapy or radiation the patient has received
- The type of transplant performed
- Before the discharge, the doctor will make sure
- Bone marrow is making enough healthy blood cells
- The patient has no severe complications
- Patient feel well, and any mouth sores and/or diarrhoea have improved or gone away
- Appetite has improved
- There is no fever or vomiting
During the hospital stay patient might
- Feel weak, and may experience vomiting, diarrhoea and/or a loss of appetite
- Receive medicines to prevent or treat infections, including antibiotics, antifungals, and antiviral medication
- Need many blood transfusions, because of a low number of red blood cells
- Have regular platelet transfusions, cause of a small number of platelets
- Be fed through a vein until you can eat by mouth and stomach side effects and mouth sores have gone away
Life expectancy after a bone marrow transplant
People with a bone marrow transplant, who are able to survive for at least 5 years after hematopoietic cell transplant without any signs and symptoms of relapse of the original disease, have more probability of surviving for another 15 years. However, a normal life expectancy is not completely achieved.
Despite a very high success rate of this procedure, there are chances of several types of complications. These complications may vary from patient to patient depending upon various factors such as,
- Age and overall health of the patient
- Any underlying disease and its chances of recurrence
- Presence of any other medical condition
- Type of transplant
- Preparations are done before the transplant
- The health of the donor
Risks and complications
The most common complication associated with this procedure is the graft versus host disease. This can only happen in cases of allogeneic transplant. This happens when the donor cells misidentify the recipient body cells as some foreign substances and start attacking them. This is manifested in the form of various signs and symptoms such as breathlessness, cough, vision changes, scarring of the skin, dry mouth, sores in the mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
Other than this Graft versus Host disease, other complications may include, infections, organ failure, infertility, cataract, the spread of cancerous cells, or even death. However, the good news is that due to a highly improved infrastructure in the hospitals that comprises of world-class technologies and robotic techniques and highly qualified doctors with great achievements & experience, the chances of these complications have been toned down.