When you hear the word “transplant,” you might think of a heart or liver. However, stem cell transplantation is also available to people who need the procedure. In Atlanta, doctors provide stem cell transplants daily to patients who can no longer produce healthy blood cells for various reasons, especially cancer. If you or someone you know is one of the many requiring a stem cell transplant, you’re probably wondering what it entails. This post will give you an overview of the stem cell transplant process and how the procedure can help save your life.
What is a stem cell transplant?
Stem cell transplantation is a medical procedure that replaces unhealthy blood-forming cells with healthy ones. The method is commonly used to treat leukemias, lymphomas or myelomas, autoimmune disorders, and bone marrow disorders. It can also be used to treat sickle cell anemia and thalassemia. Without stem cell transplantation, many people would be unable to rescue their damaged immune systems.
Luckily for people with hair loss, stem cell hair restoration also exists. Clinicians use a unique technique to extract parts of hair follicles and transplant stem cells in the receptor area. An entire hair growth cycle takes less than a year, leaving a full head of natural, healthy hair.
Stem cell transplant process
If you’re considering undergoing a stem cell transplant in Atlanta, it’s essential to understand the process and what to expect.
When undergoing an autologous transplant, stem cells come from your own body. Whereas, an allogeneic stem cell transplant uses cells from a donor.
Those who qualify for the autologous stem cell transplant must undergo a few steps for successful transplantation.
Step 1: Collecting stem cells might take multiple days because clinicians must increase the stem cells in the body with medication and then collect them through a vein.
Step 2: Pre-transplant treatment (if the reason for the transplant is cancer). This can take a few days or up to 10 days, and chemotherapy is involved.
Step 3: Getting stem cells back into the bloodstream through a catheter only takes 30 minutes for each infusion.
Step 4: Recovery. A doctor will closely monitor the cells’ recovery and growth, and the patient will take antibiotics to reduce infection.
Regardless of which procedure takes place, the recovery process is also a time to monitor for possible stem cell transplant side effects.
Stem cell transplant side effects
Health experts offer information on possible immediate and long-term side effects.
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Low blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Less urine output
- Feeling weak
Other not-as-common side effects might come about several months after the stem cell infusion. Infection, fatigue, graft-versus-host disease, and low thyroid function are all possibilities, among other things. If considering stem cell transplants, speak to your doctor about the possible side effects of stem cell transplants.
Stem cell transplant cost
Each determination is done case by case, and insurance companies review whether the procedure is medically necessary. Costs vary depending on the reason for the transplant and whether the procedure requires a donor. Other factors may contribute also, such as location, access to laboratories and equipment, and who is performing the procedure. Patients should prepare to pay between $5,000 to $8,000 for simple procedures and upwards of $25,000 to $50,000 for others. There is no exact set cost for all patients, so it’s crucial to set up an appointment with your doctor.
A stem cell transplant is a big decision. There are many things to consider before you decide to proceed with transplantation. If you or someone you know might need a stem cell transplant, we encourage you to contact us for more information. Our team of experts at NewREGEN in Atlanta is ready and waiting to answer your questions and help you navigate this process.