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Bone marrow and stem cell transplant

An procedure to replace damaged bone marrow

A bone marrow transplant involves replacing damaged bone marrow with healthy bone marrow

About transplants

Stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant is a type of treatment that replaces damaged blood cells with healthy ones. Stem cell transplants are a complex medical procedure and can only be provided at specialist centres. They have been used to treat blood cancers and disorders for many years, and more recently have been used to treat some auto-immune conditions, specifically Multiple Sclerosis.


At HCA Healthcare UK our network of quality assured haematopoietic stem cell transplant centres provide expert care for patients with blood cancer. Each or our centres are JACIE accredited, an independent accreditation that recognises high quality patient care. 

Types of transplant

There are different types of stem cell transplants, the most common are:

  • Autologous transplant – using your own stem cells
  • Allogeneic transplant – using donor cells

Depending on your diagnosis you may be able to use your own stem cells for the transplant, however this is not always possible and a donor is required. A donor may be a family member who is considered to be a good match (related donor), or if this is not possible then it may be from an unrelated donor who has chosen to donate their stem cells to the British Bone Marrow Registry.


Less common transplants are:

  • Cord blood transplant – using donor umbilical cord stem cells
  • Haploidenticle transplant (Haplo) – using donor cells

These transplants are an option for patients who are unable to find a high match donor.

At HCA Healthcare UK we work with expert consultant Haematologists who are highly experienced in providing stem cell transplants. They lead a team of experts from specialist nurses to pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to ensure you get the best possible care.


Your consultant will discuss your diagnosis with you in detail and, if stem cell transplant is a treatment option for you, then we have a whole team of experts who can provide you with more information and support.


What happens when you have a transplant

  • Stages of treatment icon plus

    Whether you're using your own stem cells or cells from a donor, the general process is the same:

    • You have chemotherapy or radiotherapy to reduce the cancer
    • Stem cells are collected from either you or you donor
    • You have high-dose therapy to remove the remaining cancer cells
    • You receive the stem cells via infusion

    Each part of the process takes a specific amount of time. Some parts are done under general anaesthetic, others under local anaesthetic. For some stages of this treatment you don't need anaesthetic at all. Your consultant will explain each step to you before you start the process.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    You'll have a series of tests and examinations to assess your general level of health leading up to the procedure. These test might include X-rays and blood tests.Your consultant will tell you what to expect and how to prepare for these.

    If your bone marrow is being used, you may be given medication for four to five days before your treatment, to increase the number of stem cells released into your blood stream. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.

  • Afterwards icon plus

    After infusion, the stem cells attach themselves to your bone marrow and start to make new blood cells. This takes at least two weeks to start happening. You'll need to stay in hospital for some time after your infusion as you'll have a very low resistance to infection.This is usually between one and three months.

    If you had donated stem cells transplanted, you'll usually need to take medicines to suppress your immune system slightly so that it doesn't attack these new cells. When your blood cell levels recover you can go home but you'll still be vulnerable to infection. Your consultant will explain any health precautions you need to take.

Consultant with patient

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

We provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics in London and Manchester. Our main facilities for Bone marrow and stem cell transplant include:

Contact our specialist team

Any questions? We're happy to advise you or help you to book an appointment.

Call us on 020 3553 9477
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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