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Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplantation


A bone marrow or stem cell transplantation is a procedure to remove stem cells from blood or bone marrow. The stem cells are put into your body. Stem cells are able to become other cells, such as red blood cells. Stem cells can also travel to your bone marrow and can become new bone marrow cells.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • Antibiotics: These will help prevent an infection during and after your stem cell transplant.
  • Antirejection medicine: These help keep your body from rejecting the new stem cells.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Central line: This is a special IV catheter or tube. It is put into a large vein (blood vessel) near your collarbone, in your neck, or in your groin. The groin is the area where your abdomen meets your upper leg. Other central lines, such as a PICC, may be put into your arm. You may need a central line to receive medicines or IV fluids that need to be given through a big vein. You may need a central line if it is hard for caregivers to insert a regular IV. Also, a central line may stay in longer than a regular IV can. Some central lines may also be used to take blood samples.

During your procedure:

Stem cells will be transplanted into your body through the central line. The procedure may take several hours.

After your procedure:

Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. If you feel weak or dizzy when you stand up, sit or lie down right away and call your caregiver. Your caregiver will check your blood to see if you have enough healthy blood cells. If you have trouble breathing, you may need chest x-rays. If you have a seizure after your transplant, you may need a CT scan.

  • Neurologic exam: This is also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. A neurologic exam can show caregivers how well your brain works after an injury or illness. Caregivers will check how your pupils (black dots in the center of each eye) react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.
  • Antibiotics: These fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Antirejection medicine: These keep your body from rejecting the new stem cells.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease severe pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more pain medicine.
  • Steroids: These decrease inflammation and help stop your body from attacking the new stem cells.
  • Antifungals help treat or prevent a fungal infection.
  • Antivirals help treat or prevent a viral infection.


  • Your body may reject the new stem cells. You may have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. You may also have weight gain, a fever, or a rash. You may get sores inside your mouth. You may be unable to have sex or get pregnant. You may lose too much blood and you may need a blood transfusion. Your immune system may not work as well as before the transplant, and you may get a serious infection.
  • You may get a blood clot in an arm or leg. The blood clot can break loose and travel to your lungs. A blood clot in your lungs can cause chest pain and trouble breathing. This problem can be life-threatening.
  • If you an autologous stem cell transplant, it may contain cancer cells, and the cancer may spread to other parts of your body. One or more of your organs may become damaged. Without a stem cell transplant, your condition may become life-threatening.


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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplantation (Inpatient Care)

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