Bone marrow transplantation (BMT), from planning through recovery, is a long process.
At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), we have performed thousands of these procedures to help children. So, even though every child’s BMT journey is unique, we can provide you with a very general timeline of what to expect as your child and family begin this journey. Here are the main milestones in a typical allogeneic BMT (using cells from a donor). (In autologous BMTs, the hospitalization and recovery are generally shorter.)
For step-by-step details, read about the transplant process.
Weeks or Months Before Transplant
Learn, plan, talk with SCCA doctors, make decisions, identify primary caregiver, find donor, prepare family, and arrange school and housing.
1-2 Weeks Before Transplant
Arrive at SCCA for evaluation, and finalize treatment plan.
1-7 Days Before Transplant
Get infusion of stem cells.
1-4 Weeks After Transplant
Wait for engraftment (in hospital).
1-3 Months After Transplant
Recover near SCCA (out of hospital), and get regular tests and checkups at SCCA.
2-4 Months After Transplant
Go home! Begin seeing your child’s primary doctor or come to SCCA for regular follow-up visits.
First Year After Transplant
Build strength and immune system, follow caregiver guidelines, continue seeing your child’s primary doctor or doctors at SCCA for regular follow-up, and come to SCCA for first annual checkup.
Years After Transplant
Continue long-term recovery, and come to SCCA for follow-up evaluations.
Three Ways SCCA Helps Children Get Better Faster
These elements of SCCA’s approach to BMT may help your child complete the transplant process more quickly and go home sooner.
- Difficulty finding a matched donor can cause a delay in performing the BMT. SCCA has developed many options for children who lack matched donors.
- A main factor that determines how long your child is in the hospital is the intensity of the conditioning (with chemotherapy or radiation) used to weaken or destroy the cancer or other disease-causing cells before the transplant. SCCA has developed many reduced-dose conditioning treatments that may shorten your child’s hospitalization.
- We have pioneered methods for reducing the risk of infections and graft-versus-host disease, advances that allow us to avoid complications and get more families back home sooner.
Learn more about advanced therapies at SCCA.