Stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant is an advanced medical surgery performed by expert surgeons. Not much time has passed since this critical surgical procedure was introduced in the field of medical sciences. Previously, bone marrow cancers or other specific types of cancers were not treatable. At present, most patients with bone marrow cancers get treated through stem cell transplant surgeries.
Surgeons mainly suggest stem cell transplant surgeries when the patient’s bone marrow gets destructed due to cancer or chemotherapy. In such cases, doctors replace those patients’ bone marrow with stem cells to keep them alive.
What are the different types of stem cell transplants?
Scientists and doctors have categorized stem cell transplants into three different categories- bone marrow transplant, peripheral blood stem cell transplant, and cord blood transplants. The categorization is based on where the stem cells are getting extracted from.
Besides these categories, the surgical procedure can be categorized into two other types too. Doctors determine these two types according to the donor of the stem cells. The following two types of stem cell transplants depend on the types of donors.
Autologous stem cell transplant
In this case, the stem cells come from the patient’s own body. Surgeons extract stem cells from a specific area of the patient’s body and replace his bone marrow with those stem cells. Hence, no external donor is necessary for this procedure.
Allogeneic stem cell transplant
In this type of transplantation, the stem cells are collected from an external donor’s body. No matter whether the donor is the patient’s relative or not, his stem cells should match with the donor for successful transplantation.
How do stem cell transplants cure cancer patients?
Bone marrow is the origin of blood cells in the human body. Once a patient gets diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, his bone marrow doesn’t produce blood cells in adequate amounts. As the blood production rate in the patient’s body gets interrupted, his general bodily functions get interrupted too.
In such a case, doctors try to destroy all the cancer-affected bone marrow cells through chemotherapy. The higher radiation level of high-dose chemo kills the cancer cells. However, the active stem cells get killed by the chemo at the same time.
So, external stem cells are transplanted into the patient’s body for keeping blood production intact. Once all the cancer cells get killed and external stem cells are transplanted, the fresh stem cells grow up and lead the patient to complete recovery. This is how stem cell transplants cure cancer patients.
The common side effects that a cancer patient faces after a stem cell transplant surgery
- Throat pain and mouth pain are the most common symptoms that most patients suffer from after a stem cell transplant surgery.
- Apart from that, patients tend to suffer from frequent infections as they don’t have white blood cells present inside their bodies.
- Some patients report that they suffer from severe nausea and vomiting after they undergo stem cell transplant surgery.
These are all the important and relevant factors related to stem cell transplant surgery. You should keep all these points in your mind before undergoing stem cell transplant match surgery.
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