Bone-marrow transplants prolong the life of patients who might otherwise die. As with all major organ transplants, however, it is difficult to find bone-marrow donors, and the cost of surgery is very high. The donor is usually a sibling with compatible tissue. The more siblings you have, the better the chance of finding the right match. Occasionally, unrelated donors act as a source for bone-marrow transplants. The hospitalization period is three to six weeks. During this time, you are isolated and under strict monitoring because of the increased risk of infection. Attentive follow-up care is required for two to three months after discharge from the hospital. It takes about six months to a year for the immune system to fully recover from this procedure. Relatively normal activities are resumed after consulting with your doctor.
Update Date 3/28/2014
Updated by: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.