Bone marrow transplants are used to treat people whose bone marrow stem cells have been damaged or destroyed by disease or the treatment of a disease, or as a way to fight a blood disorder such as leukemia.

Bone marrow is the soft, fatty tissue inside your bones. Stem cells are immature cells in the bone marrow that are the source of all of your blood cells. If your bone marrow stops working and doesn’t produce healthy stem cells, you may benefit from a bone marrow transplant of healthy stem cells.

Bone marrow transplants may use cells from your own body (autologous transplant), from a donor (allogeneic transplant), or from an identical twin (syngeneic transplant).

People with many conditions may benefit from a bone marrow transplant, including:

  • Leukemia
  • Acute leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • POEMS syndrome
  • Primary amyloidosis

What is a Bone Marrow Transplant?

In a bone marrow transplant, doctors infuse or inject healthy stem cells into your body to renew and repair tissue. Doctors can perform bone marrow transplants using stem cells from bone marrow, from peripheral blood, or from umbilical cord blood.

You or a donor may have a procedure to remove stem cells from your blood (apheresis) or from your bone marrow that will be collected to use in a bone marrow transplant. Stem cells can be frozen until they’re needed.

Why Costa Rica for a Bone Marrow Transplant?

Costa Rica has become a very popular medical tourism destination for persons seeking high quality, affordable transplant surgery out of the U.S. and Canada.  For many people, a bone marrow transplant in the U.S. or Canada is simply too expensive if they don’t have insurance coverage.

Costa Rica is known for its world-class private medical care, state-of-the-art clinics, and professional physicians. Top private hospitals are internationally accredited and comply with international standards for patient safety and quality of services.  The reputation of surgeons in Costa Rica is excellent.  Many Costa Rican doctors are fluent in English and other languages besides Spanish, and are highly regarded both nationally and internationally.  People who have had bone marrow transplant surgery in Costa Rica are returning home healthier and satisfied with the results, quality of care, and affordable prices.

How is Bone Marrow Transplant surgery done?

If you are eligible for a bone marrow transplant, your doctor will insert a long, thin tube (catheter) into a vein in your chest near your neck.  Your treatment team uses the catheter, also called a central line, to infuse the transplanted stem cells and other medications and blood products into your body.  The process is similar to getting a blood transfusion.  The stem cells travel through the blood into the bone marrow.

What is recovery like after a Bone Marrow Transplant in Costa Rica?

After your bone marrow transplant, you may notice some minor side effects, such as a flushed face or nausea.  This is due to the preservatives used to freeze the stem cells.  Medications may help with these side effects.  You’ll also likely be given IV fluids to hydrate you before and after the bone marrow transplant to help rid your body of the preservatives.

Usually you can leave the hospital after your bone marrow transplant, unless you’re experiencing allergic reactions or your treatment team needs to watch you closely.  You will usually need to stay close to the hospital for 3–6 weeks after your transplant. You will have daily appointments to check for infections and complications and to evaluate your blood cells.

Your transplanted stem cells will begin to create new blood cells.  It may take several weeks for your blood counts to recover.  Your doctors will conduct blood tests and other tests to monitor your condition and check to see if your transplanted cells are producing new blood cells.

Benefits of a Bone Marrow Transplant

  • Restores your bone marrow cells
  • A bone marrow transplant may completely or partially cure your illness

If you are interested in a bone marrow transplant in Costa Rica, please fill out the “Help Me Find a Doctor” form.  A participating medical specialist will contact you about your medical needs.