Bone Marrow Transplant

About the Bone Marrow Transplant Procedure

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

In a bone marrow transplant, bone marrow cells are collected from a donor’s bloodstream or through a needle inserted into a bone, typically a pelvic bone.

There are two types of donor situations:

  • Autologous, using the recipient’s own cells
  • Allogeneic, using donor cells

The cells are then transferred by an infusion (or reinfused, if autologous) into the patient’s bloodstream.

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.

A bone marrow transplant might be necessary for patients who have received high doses of chemotherapy (and sometimes radiation), which can suppress the body’s ability to make blood.

Depending on the type of transplant and your provider’s recommendation, you may be admitted to William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital until recovery. Some patients may be given the option to remain solely an outpatient and have regularly scheduled follow-ups.

Patients admitted to the hospital typically stay three to four weeks while the bone marrow recovers. Complications are rare, but when they do occur, a patient might stay in the hospital longer. We see bone marrow transplant patients in our clinic two to three times a week for the first 100 days following a transplant.

We guide patients every step of the way through the procedure. Our staff of physicians, nurses, and other care providers knows how to address any issues that might arise before, during, and after your transplant.

UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Bone Marrow Transplant Program has the highest one-year survival rate in North Texas.

Engineering Better Options

One of the options we offer patients at UT Southwestern is a bone marrow transplant in which we manipulate cells before they’re transplanted. This method 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 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 provides collaborative, multidisciplinary care from experts across multiple specialties to ensure the best quality of life for these patients.

Bone Marrow Transplant Patient Guide

Most patients and their families have questions and practical concerns about transplants and treatments. Download this booklet to get answers to most of your immediate questions and help you prepare for your upcoming transplant.

A Patient & Family Education Guide to Blood and Marrow Transplant (23 MB PDF) English | Spanish