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What is the procedure for a stem cell transplant?

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Quick Answer

The procedure for a stem cell transplant involves physical examination, harvesting, conditioning, transplanting and a recovery period, states NHS Choices. The procedure can either be autologous transplantation (cleaning and returning the patient's stem cells) or allogeneic transplantation (harvesting stem cells from a donor to a patient).

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What is the procedure for a stem cell transplant?
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Full Answer

Physical examination involves assessing the health condition of both the patient and the donor. This is to ensure that both people are physically prepared for the transplant. The examination takes several days or more, Mayo Clinic reports.

In autologous transplantation, a patient receives daily injections to increase the production of stem cells and to move them into the blood for easy collection. The individual then undergoes a procedure called apheresis to collect the stem cells, which are frozen for use during the transplant.

Allogeneic transplantation involves collecting the stem cells from a healthy person through a procedure called stem cell harvest. Patients then begin the conditioning process where they undergo chemotherapy and radiation to kill cancer cells, suppress the immune system or prep the bone marrow for new stem cells. The type of conditioning process a patient gets depends on the type of transplant, overall health and the disease, notes Mayo Clinic. A doctor completes the transplantation, and the patient is monitored closely for any complications or side effects.

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