FAQ on Bone marrow
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How is Bone Marrow collected for a Transplant?
Bone marrow is the pulpy material found in the center of bones. Marrow is usually collected from the hip bone (or pelvic bone) or less commonly from the breast bone (or sternum).
Great care is taken to ensure that the donor feels no pain during the procedure by using anesthesia. This could be either ‘general anesthesia’ that puts the person to sleep, or ‘regional anesthesia’ that numbs a part of the body.
Withdrawing marrow from the bone takes about an hour. The region around the waist is cleaned with an antiseptic. Needles are inserted into the waist bone or breast bone and marrow is withdrawn. Several insertions will be required. This process is called ‘harvesting.’ After the procedure is over, some pressure is applied over the region for a short while and a bandage (dressing) is applied. The donor may be asked to lay down until the effects of anesthesia wear off. He can then be discharged from the hospital.
The harvested marrow contains blood cells and small bone fragments. These are first removed using special techniques. The stem cells that remain are then mixed with preservatives and stored in freezing conditions (cryopreserved). This allows them to be used later.
Courtesy: Muscular Dystrophy Campaign