Bone Marrow Harvesting
What you should know
Bone marrow harvesting is a procedure to remove bone marrow from your bones to be used for transplantation. Bone marrow is usually taken from the hip or sternum (breastbone). Your bone marrow may be put back inside of you, or donated to someone else.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- You may need to have this procedure more than once. A needle may break inside of you during your procedure. You may have nausea or vomiting, or feel more tired than usual. Your blood pressure may get low and make you dizzy. You may have a rash, bruising, infection, or numbness near the injection sites. You may have trouble concentrating, and it may be hard for you to sleep. Your body may feel stiff, weak, or you may have trouble walking.
- You may have severe pain in your hips, back, breastbone, and legs. You may lose too much blood and need a blood transfusion. Some of your blood vessels may become swollen. Air or bone tissue may block blood vessels in your heart, lungs, or brain. This could lead to a heart attack, breathing problems, or a stroke. This can be life-threatening. If you have cancer, it can get worse without bone marrow harvesting. It may be hard for your body to recover from other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Before your procedure:
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- Tests: Your caregiver will do blood tests to check your blood type and blood count. Other blood tests check for diseases such as diabetes and HIV, and check your liver and kidney function. You may need to have an x-ray or electrocardiogram (ECG). Tell your caregiver if you think you are pregnant.
- Blood donation: You may donate your own blood before your bone marrow is harvested. It will be stored for you in a blood bank. This allows you to have your own blood in case you need it. This is called an autologous blood transfusion.
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
The day of your procedure:
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist may talk to you before your surgery. This caregiver may give you medicine to make you sleepy before your procedure or surgery. Tell your caregiver if you or anyone in your family has had a problem using anesthesia in the past.
What will happen:
- You will receive anesthesia medicine to keep you comfortable during the procedure. Your caregiver will put a needle attached to a syringe into your hipbone or breastbone. Your bone marrow is suctioned into the syringe and then placed into a collection bag.
- Your caregiver may need to move the needle to another part of your bone to get more marrow. Your caregiver may turn you over to get marrow from the other side of your body. Bandages may be put on the sites where the harvests are made. Your caregiver will decide if you need a blood transfusion.
After your procedure:
Caregivers will watch you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. You may be allowed to go home or taken to your room after your caregiver says it is okay.
Contact a caregiver if
- You have a fever.
- You have an infection or sore where the bone marrow harvest will be done.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.