About the Bone Marrow Transplant Procedure

A bone marrow transplant does not involve major surgery – it’s performed similarly to a blood transfusion.

In a bone marrow transplant, bone marrow cells are collected from a donor’s bloodstream through a needle inserted into a bone, generally a pelvic bone. The cells are then given to the patient by an infusion into the bloodstream.

There are two types of donor situations:

  • Autologous transplant, which involves the patient’s own cells
  • Allogeneic transplant, which involves donor cells

In both cases, the infused cells are hematopoietic stem cells, which once transfused into the patient help the body produce new blood and immune cells.

This is necessary for patients who have received high doses of chemotherapy (and sometimes radiation), which can suppress the body’s ability to make blood.

After the transplant, patients typically remain in the hospital for three to four weeks as the bone marrow recovers. Rarely, a complication will occur, and a patient will stay in the hospital longer. Bone transplant patients will be seen in our clinic two to three times a week for the first 100 days following a transplant.

Patients are guided every step of the way through the procedure. Our staff of physicians, nurses, and others knows how to address any issues that may arise before, during, and after the transplant. UT Southwestern’s Bone Marrow Transplant program has the highest one-year survival rate in North Texas.

Engineering Better Options

One of the options we offer our patients at UT Southwestern Medical Center is a bone marrow transplant in which we manipulate cells before they’re transplanted. This allows us to engineer the transplant in a way that removes cells that could be harmful to the recipient and cause complications.

In addition, we’re also able to transplant immune cells that have been specifically engineered with gene therapy to attack a patient’s cancer cells. This approach, led by transplant specialist Madhuri Vusirikala, M.D., represents a lifesaving alternative for patients with severe forms of blood cancers. Additional trials using engineered T cells are in the planning stages.

Coordinating Complicated Cases

Chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) can be a common complication for patients who have received allogeneic transplants. Our Chronic GVHD Program, led by Madhuri Vusirikala, M.D., provides collaborative, multidisciplinary care from experts across multiple specialties to ensure the best quality of life for these patients.

Request an Appointment

To schedule a visit with a bone marrow transplant specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.