Health and Fitness

Common Misunderstandings regarding Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone Marrow in the human body hosts immature cells capable of taking the form of any blood cell, naturally found as a soft tissue inside some bones. 

A transplant is advisable when bone marrow loses the ability to make new blood cells. Cancer patients experiencing chemotherapy are likely to go through this problem in their lifetime. Several patients with blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and other deadly diseases, rely on a blood stem cell donation from a genetically matched donor for a cure.

The specialists operating for the best bone marrow transplant in India choose to remove the bone marrow before chemotherapy sessions and then return to the body after the session. Despite being a lifesaver, there are many myths about bone marrow transplantation that discourage people from donating.

Types of Bone Marrow Transplant

A bone marrow transplant has three main types depending upon the donor.

  • When the transplant uses one’s stem cells it is described as the Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant.
  • Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation is done using the bone cells from a donor based on the genetic match.
  • The transplantation involving the intravenous infusion of autologous or allogeneic stem cells for treating hematopoietic function is called Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Some misconceptions about bone marrow donation are:

Myth 1: There Is Only One Type of Transplant Method

  • There are different types of procedures for bone marrow transplants conducted by the experts by analyzing the condition of the patient and the donor. 
  • Some of the common ones are Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation, Autologous Bone Marrow transplant, and others. The doctors diagnose the patient and choose the approach fit for the treatment.

Myth 2: The Donation of Bone Marrow Is Painful

  • There are two ways to donate stem cells. The first is through peripheral blood stem cell donation and the second through bone marrow donation. 
  • The peripheral method is a non-surgical method of collecting the stem cells. Hence, this procedure is painless. 
  • The bone marrow donation method concerns collecting the marrow cells from the back of the pelvic bone using a syringe which might give mild pain.

Myth 3: Donation May Have Long-Term Consequences

  • Donating stem cells by any method is moderately harmless to the donor. 
  • Bone marrow levels naturally return to normal within weeks of the donation, and donors can return to normal activities within 1 to 7 days.
  • This myth has no arguments. Any hospital for the best bone marrow transplant in India would deny it by explaining the whole process. 
  • In a few cases, the drug filgrastim used for peripheral stem cell donation may cause vomiting, nausea, bone pain, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue.
  • Anesthesia used during bone marrow donation may cause tiredness, weakness, or trouble walking for a few days. It may also cause back or hip pain for a few days.

Myth 4: Bone Marrow is extracted from the Spine

  • Bone marrow donations have no procedure concerning the spine. 
  • Peripheral blood stem cell donation used in about 75% of cases interests gathering blood stem cells from the bloodstream.
  • For bone marrow donation, marrow is taken from the back of the pelvic bone using a special syringe.

Myth 5: The Procedure Is Gender Biased

  • The transplant requires a perfect match as the donor. It means the stem cells have similar properties as needed for the patient. There are no gender biases in bone marrow transplants. 
  • If the patient is a woman, the donor doesn’t need to be a woman.
  • The number of proteins present in the blood decides whether someone is a perfect match with the patient for the transplant or not. 

Myth 6: Bone Marrow Donation Is Costly

The procedure is costly, but there is no expense caused for donating bone marrow.

Myth 7: It is Time-Consuming

  • Donors usually donate within one to three months after receiving a request.
  • For peripheral stem cell donations, they must visit a medical office for filgrastim injections five days before the procedure. 
  • The donation then takes around four to six hours over the day. They generally do not stay overnight in the hospital and return to work within a few days.
  • The bone marrow extraction method takes one to two hours, and donors may stay overnight. However, most return to the normal plans within days.

Myth 8: Family Members Are Perfect Match for the Transplant Procedure

  • There is a 1 out of 4 probability that siblings from the same parents might be a match which is only a 30% chance. 
  • So, it is not always that the family members can save one’s life by giving bone marrow.

Donating bone marrow is a serious responsibility, but the prize is invaluable: saving a life.

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