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What To Expect After a Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant

You’ll stay in the hospital for weeks or even months after your blood and marrow stem cell transplant. Your doctors will want to be sure that you're healthy and strong enough to go home.

They’ll want to make sure:

  • Your bone marrow is making enough healthy blood cells
  • You have no severe complications
  • You feel well and any mouth sores and/or diarrhea have improved or gone away
  • Your appetite has improved
  • You have no fever or vomiting

During the first weeks and months after you leave the hospital, you’ll make frequent trips to an outpatient clinic. This allows your doctors to track your progress. These visits will happen less often over time.

Staff at the clinic will teach you and your caregiver how to care for your central line (which will stay in place for at least 6 months after your transplant), how to watch for and prevent infections, and other ways to care for you. They also will tell you who to call and what to do in case of an emergency.

Recovery from a stem cell transplant can be slow. It takes 6 to 12 months to recover normal blood cell levels and immune function. During this time, it's important for you to take steps to reduce the risk of infection, get plenty of rest, and follow your doctors' instructions about medicines and checkups.

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October 1, 2009