Bone marrow transplant is a surgical procedure performed to replace bone marrow that has been damaged or completely destroyed by a disease, infection, chemotherapy or any other radiation treatment. This procedure involves transplanting of blood stem cells, which travel to the bone marrow where they produce new blood cells and promote growth of new marrow. Bone marrow transplant is a complex medical procedure performed by the most experienced surgeons at Fortis International, BG Road, Bangalore.

Bone marrow is the spongy, fatty tissue inside the bones. It helps create the following parts of the blood:

  • red blood cells, to carry oxygen and various nutrients throughout the human body
  • White blood cells, which fight infection and antigens and other foreign particles
  • Blood platelets, which are responsible for the formation of clots post injury

The primary reason behind bone marrow transplant is to replace the damaged stem cells with healthy ones. This helps the body make enough quantity white blood cells, platelets, or red blood cells to avoid infections, bleeding disorders, or anemia and sustain the human body on the whole. Healthy stem cells can be sourced in two ways. Either from a donor, or from the patient’s body itself. In the second case, healthy stem cells can be harvested, or grown, before the patient starts undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Healthy stem cells harvested before the radiation treatment/chemotherapy are then stored and used during the bone marrow transplant surgery.

Why a patient may need a bone marrow transplant?

Bone marrow transplants become a critical medical requirement for a patient when his/her marrow isn’t healthy enough to function properly. This could be due to various reasons such as chronic infections, disease, or cancer treatments. Some reasons which may necessitate bone marrow transplant include:

  • aplastic anemia, a blood disorder which restricts the marrow from making new blood cells in the body
  • various types of cancers that affect the bone marrow, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma to name a few
  • damaged bone marrow due to chemotherapy or other radiation treatments
  • congenital neutropenia, which is an inherited disorder that causes recurring infections in the blood
  • sickle cell anemia, which is again an inherited blood disorder that causes a particular type of red blood cell called misshapen
  • thalassemia, which is again an inherited blood disorder where the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin in the body