A lot of critical illnesses require timely intervention. This rings true for blood cancers like leukemia and myeloma. Nowadays, Bone marrow Transplant has emerged as an innovative approach to treating these ailments and many more.
Your doctor may have advised you to undergo a bone marrow transplant. But do you know everything about the process? Are you aware of the complications? Do you really need it?
It is crucial you try to find out the answers to these questions before beginning your transplant.
In case your primary doctor no longer feels like a reliable source, you should go for a second opinion.
What can you expect in a Bone marrow transplant?
You should know the different steps in the bone marrow transplant to improve your understanding of the process. This will also help decide if you are comfortable with the procedure or not.
A Bone marrow transplant involves transfusing the patient with healthy stem cells. These cells could be obtained from another person, preferably a close family member. This is known as an allogeneic transplant. On the other hand, in an autologous transplant, the healthy cells are removed from your body and stored. Once your body has been purged from diseased or damaged stem cells, the preserved cells will be transplanted.
The steps of a bone marrow transplant are
- Conducting physical exams and tests to determine your overall fitness
- Stem cells are then collected from blood in case of an autologous transplant. Whereas for an allogeneic transplant, stem cells can be harvested from blood or bone marrow.
- Your body will be conditioned before transplantation by giving chemotherapy with/without radiation therapy
- A catheter is then used to introduce the healthy stem cells into your blood
- During recovery, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and address any side effects that you may have from the transplant.
Sometimes, autologous transplantation is not feasible. You will have to search for a donor. Your doctor can help you out in this aspect. If you feel like you are still unclear about getting a bone marrow transplant, then a second opinion from a doctor who is an expert in BMT could prove helpful.
Conditions that require a Bone Marrow Transplant
Many diseases can be treated with a bone marrow transplant. Usually, a bone marrow transplant is performed when your bone marrow is unhealthy and has lost the ability to produce healthy blood cells.
But, you must discuss it with your doctor to decide if the treatment is the best option for you. Your doctor will have a fair idea of whether the treatment is beneficial for you or not.
Conditions that can be addressed with a bone marrow transplant are
- Blood cancers like Leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma: These cancers affect the function of blood cells and bone marrow. Here, BMT is used to replace damaged or cancerous cells with healthy stem cells, allowing the patient to live a healthy life.
- Aplastic anemia: The disease happens when the stem cells in your bone marrow are unable to produce blood cells. It leads to increased infections. BMT, if successful can cure aplastic anemia.
- Immune and blood diseases like thalassemia, anemia, and severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID).
Life after Bone marrow transplant
You will be observed for about 30 days after the bone marrow transplant. It is to make sure that the transplanted cells have successfully moved to the bone marrow for producing healthy and new cells. This process is known as engraftment.
The healthcare team will monitor your platelets and white blood cell numbers. Your doctor will let you know how the process is going. Sometimes, your engraftment will take longer. If you are not hospitalized, then you may need to go for regular checkups at the hospital.
Your bone marrow transplant journey doesn’t end after being discharged from the hospital. While you recover, you may feel physically and mentally exhausted.
It can take around 6-12 months for blood counts to become normal. To prevent complications, your doctor will put you on antibiotics and closely follow your progress.
You will be expected to undergo blood tests and other tests to determine how well your immune system is functioning.
How safe is a Bone marrow transplant?
Though the life expectancy after a bone marrow transplant has improved in recent years, BMT is still a highly complex process. Bone marrow transplants for patients suffering from non-malignant diseases have a survival rate of about 70-90% when done with a sibling donor.
There is a higher chance of complications just 100 days after the transplant. But, the possibility of risks still exists even years after the transplant or during your recovery.
Most side effects that arise after the transplant like infections can be managed with an antibiotic regimen. These usually go away with time but some of them can persist longer. In the case of an allogeneic transplant, there is a possibility of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). This can be a serious complication.
You must weigh the pros and cons of a bone marrow transplant before going through with the procedure.
Why is a Second Opinion for a Bone Marrow Transplant Important?
Bone marrow transplant has emerged as an important treatment for various diseases. But it is far from perfect! As you saw above, it can pose serious concerns. Your primary doctor may believe it is the best solution for your problem. But, if you feel uncomfortable about the procedure, then there’s no harm in seeking a second opinion from another doctor. The second opinion doctor may suggest some novel and alternative treatments that can
be more suitable for you.
During your second opinion, your entire medical history including symptoms and diagnostic test results will be re-evaluated by a fresh set of eyes. This will allow inaccuracies to be caught. Thus, protecting you from misdiagnosis.
Most importantly, a second opinion will provide peace of mind that you are making the right decision about your health.
Cost of Second Opinion
||Second Opinion Cost in USD
||Second Opinion with Telemedicine Cost in USD
Second Opinion with MediGence
By now, you must have started to consider taking a second opinion. But there’s still one problem. You don’t know how to find the right place for it!
MediGence’s Second Opinion platform, ThinkTwice connects you with a board of well-trained and skilled doctors for your second opinion. This report will be delivered to you within 5 days. Our technology-integrated platform allows you to share all relevant medical information easily. You can even avail a video consultation with the doctor to understand your second opinion report.