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Definition of Bone Marrow Donation
The withdrawal of bone marrow from a donor for use as a bone marrow transplantation or to harvest blood stem cells, usually as treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, some other cancers, and severe forms of anemia.
Bone marrow donation may be autologous (donated for reimplantation into the donor) or allogeneic (donated for another person to receive as a bone marrow transplantation).
Bone Marrow Donation Procedure
Bone marrow donation is a surgical procedure performed in an operating room under general anesthesia.
A single bone marrow donation typically harvests about 1 quart (less than a liter) of red bone marrow mixed with blood.
The donor’s body replaces the extracted marrow in about four to six weeks.
The risks of bone marrow donation are slight. They include postoperative bleeding and infection. The withdrawal site is typically uncomfortable for a few days after the donation.
There is no cost to the donor for the bone marrow donation procedure and care related to it unless the donor is also to be the recipient (autologous donation). Prospective donors register with a bone marrow donor program, which uses blood samples to identify tissue types. The program contacts the prospective donor when there is a need for marrow of his or her tissue type. Unlike blood donated for transfusions, bone marrow cannot be stored.
Hemapheresis – Less Invasive Donation
A less invasive type of donation that appears to achieve the same result is peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection, done through a procedure called hemapheresis (also called apheresis). Hemapheresis is similar to blood donation, in which an intravenous (IV) line withdraws the donor’s blood.
The blood goes into a blood separator that extracts the blood stem cells and returns the remainder of the blood to the donor via a second IV line in a different vein. before PBSC the person may receive injections of a medication to stimulate the bone marrow to increase its production of blood stem cells, to increase their numbers in the blood. The blood yields a lower volume of blood stem cells than does bone marrow.
See also BLOOD TRANSFUSION.