RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
Bone marrow donation
The most serious risk associated with donating bone marrow involves the use and effects of anesthesia during surgery. After the surgery, you might feel tired or weak and have trouble walking for a few days. The area where the bone marrow was taken out might feel sore for a few days. You can take a pain reliever for the discomfort. You'll likely be able to get back to your normal routine within a couple of days, but it may take a couple of weeks before you feel fully recovered.
Peripheral blood stem cell donation
The risks of this type of stem cell donation are minimal. Before the donation, you'll get injections of a medicine that increases the number of stem cells in your blood. This medicine can cause side effects, such as bone pain, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. These usually disappear within a couple of days after you stop the injections. You can take a pain reliever for the discomfort. If that doesn't help, your doctor can prescribe another pain medicine for you.
For the donation you'll have a catheter (thin, plastic tube) placed in a vein in your arm. If the veins in your arms are too small or have thin walls, you may need to have a catheter put in a larger vein in your neck, chest or groin. This rarely causes side effects, but complications that can occur include air trapped between your lungs and your chest wall (pneumothorax), bleeding and infection. During the donation, you might feel lightheaded or have chills, numbness or tingling around the mouth, and cramping in your hands. These will go away after the donation.
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- Bone marrow transplantation and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/bone-marrow-transplant. Accessed March 7, 2011.
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- Filgrastim (granulocyte colony stimulating factor; G-CSF). Facts & Comparisons 4.0. http://www.factsandcomparisons.com. Accessed March 7, 2011.
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- Myths and facts about bone barrow donation. National Marrow Donor Program. http://www.marrow.org/JOIN/Myths_%26_Facts_about_Marrow_Don/index.html. Accessed March 23, 2011.