Log in »

Bone Marrow Harvesting For Autologous or Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplants

This information explains bone marrow harvesting for autologous or allogeneic bone marrow transplants.

Harvesting is the process of collecting stem cells. Autologous bone marrow harvesting is done to remove  a patient's own stem cells. The cells are given back to the patient later. Allogeneic bone marrow harvesting is done to remove stem cells from a donor. These stem cells are given to the patient later.

Before Your Procedure

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure. This includes water, gum, and hard candy.
  • Tell your doctor if you:
    • Have any allergies
    • Are taking any medications. Some may suppress bone marrow and will need to be stopped
    • Are taking aspirin, NSAIDs (ibuprofen, such as Motrin® or Advil®), or vitamin E. They can cause bleeding problems. Do not take medication that has them unless your doctor says it is okay. Your nurse will give you information about what medications you can and cannot take.

During Your Procedure

Harvesting is done in the operating room. You will be asleep under general anesthesia.

Bone marrow can be removed from many different sites on your body. Some examples are the front and back of your hips and your breastbone. The amount of marrow removed will depend on the weight and illness of the person who will receive the bone marrow. Your weight and size may limit how much marrow you can donate. The body will replace this marrow in about 2 to 3 months.

If you are donating stem cells for someone else, you also may need to give a unit of blood 2 weeks before the procedure. This blood will be given back to you in the recovery room. It will help your bone marrow recover.

After Your Procedure

When you wake up in the recovery room, your harvest sites may be sore. Your nurse in the recovery room will give you pain medication. You will be given a prescription for pain medication to take home with you.

  • After 24 hours, shower and remove the dressings.
  • Walking, general movement, and warm showers will help relieve the pain and stiffness.
  • You can take aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®), and vitamin E once your doctor says it's ok.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet high in iron (e.g., red meat, spinach) for 2 months.
  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of liquids everyday for 4 days.
  • Ask your doctor about taking vitamin and iron supplements.
  • Do not do strenuous exercise for 1 week. This includes running or jogging and aerobics.
  • Do not swim or sit in a hot tub or a Jacuzzi® for 1 week after your procedure.
  • Do not play contact sports for 1 week. This includes football, soccer, basketball, and all other contact sports.

Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You:

  • Have bleeding from the harvest sites
  • Have redness or drainage at the harvest sites
  • Have chills or a temperature of 100.4° F (38° C ) or higher
  • Develop a cough that does not go away
  • Have pain that is getting worse or not improving after 1 day