Procedure for Blood and Marrow Transplant

BMT is similar to a blood transfusion

You'll have your stem cell transplant one or two days after preconditioning. Similar to a blood transfusion, the procedure usually takes up to five hours.

Producing normal blood cells

About 10 to 14 days after your transplant, the new stem cells move from your bloodstream to your bone marrow. Called engraftment, the stem cells begin producing normal blood cells. During this time, the transplant team monitors your blood counts daily and provides supportive care with antibiotics and/or blood or platelet transfusions.

For weeks or months after your transplant procedure, you may require periodic transfusions of platelets and red blood cells.

Side effects or complications

These may result from preconditioning or the transplant procedure.

  • Graft-versus-host disease
    This is a frequent complication of allogeneic transplants. The donor's cells have an immune reaction that destroys the patient's own tissue. We prevent and treat GVHD with medications.
  • Infection
    Because patients' immune systems are weak after transplant, infection is one of the most common complications patients face. Hand washing is the best way to prevent infection. Depending on your type of transplant, the highest risk of infection is from 30 days to six months following your transplant.
  • Kidney complications
    High-dose chemotherapy and the combinations of medication often affect kidney function. We closely monitor your kidney functions and treat any complications aggressively.
  • Pulmonary complications
    High-dose chemotherapy and total-body radiation treatments may cause lung damage. Pneumonia caused by various fungi, viruses and bacteria may also damage the pulmonary system. Medications can treat pneumonia. Patients with lung damage may be temporarily placed on a ventilator.
  • Veno-occlusive disease
    This potentially fatal liver problem is caused by the high-dose chemotherapy and radiation of preconditioning. The liver's blood vessels become swollen and clogged, reducing the liver's ability to remove toxins, drugs and other waste products from the blood stream.
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