How Is A Stem Cell Transplant Done?

How Is A Stem Cell Transplant Done?

Stem Cell transplants are common medical procedures today that are usually performed to treat certain types of cancer and blood disorders as well. Quite a number of children today are taken for stem cell transplants to increase the number of healthy stem cells in their bodies for a generally healthy life. The stem cell transplant involves removal of stem cells from the bone marrow of one individual, the donor, to another, the recipient, for a particular medical reason. At times the donor may still be the recipient especially when they are going to be taken for a major surgery where the stem cells will be injected back to their bodies to sustain normal internal conditions during the operation. If you’ve ever wondered how is a stem cell transplant done, the following is a brief overview on what normally takes place.

Apheresis Procedure

Apheresis is the most common method that is employed when transplanting stem cells from one individual to another. Apheresis is more or less like carrying out a blood transfusion. During this procedure the donor is given a number of injections prior to the transplanting process whose sole purpose is to make the stem cells shift from the bone marrow to the blood. This usually takes a couple of hours or even days. Once the stem cells are in the blood the donor’s blood will be removed using an Apheresis Catheter, the stem cells filtered and the blood is injected back in to their body.

Normally blood will be removed from one arm and injected back to the body of the donor through the other arm to ensure that there is a constant flow of blood in the body. The filtered stem cells will then be carefully preserved and given to the recipient.

Direct Removal of Stem Cells

Stem cells can also be directly removed from the body of the donor often from the bone marrow found in the hipbone but this procedure is normally not used as it is more intricate and dangerous to the donor hence is only resorted to if for some reason the donor cannot be taken for Apheresis. In women the stem cells are preferably obtained from the breastbone if this direct procedure is to be used.

Medical Procedures for the Recipient

Not all people can successfully receive donated stem cells during stem cell transplant. There is always the pending risk of some recipients suffering from side effects so all recipients are carefully examined and only given donated stem cells when medical professionals are certain that their bodies are ready for the transplant. In cancer cases the recipient will be passed through intense Chemotherapy which is an effectual technique of preparing their body for the transplant. Blood tests are done too as a safety precaution in preventing the transfer of viruses and diseases from the donor to the recipient during the transplant.

Basically stem cell transplant is a risky procedure and is normally done with a lot of caution because if it turns sour the effects can be very detrimental to both the donor and the recipient. This is why thorough checkups are done before one can be allowed to go for a stem cell transplant. Actually if there is another alternative to boost your health, you’d rather not go for a stem cell transplant.