Bone marrow transplants in Turkey

Are you considering a bone marrow transplant in Turkey? Find out all about bone marrow transplantation in Istanbul: Procedure, Costs, Recovery. Get a free quote for a successful treatment in Istanbul.

BestClinic.co.uk provides information about bone marrow transplants in Turkey and helps you book an operation with qualified Turkish surgeons. This content is for information purposes only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice.

How much does a bone marrow transplant cost in Turkey?

Autologous bone marrow transplants are less expensive than allogeneic transplants, which require a search for a donor and a greater number of tests.

This is why, depending on the type of bone marrow transplant required, the cost of this treatment varies between €25,000 and €65,000 . Apart from India, Turkey is the least expensive European country for a bone marrow transplant, costing up to three times less than in Europe.

Bone marrow transplant in TurkeyFrom €25,000

Introduction

A bone marrow transplant is a vital medical procedure for many patients suffering from serious illnesses such as leukaemia (blood cancer), other cancers or certain hereditary diseases.

When other treatments have failed to bring the expected cure, a bone marrow transplant (BMT) is sometimes the only chance of saving a patient.

This procedure, which aims to replace the patient ‘s own stem cells, possibly with those of a healthy donor, involves more than 50,000 patients a year worldwide, including 32,000 in Europe.

Equipped with the best affordable transplant technologies, Turkey welcomes patients from all over the world, offering them an additional hope of recovery during a medical trip.

What is a bone marrow transplant?

Bone marrow is a soft, spongy substance located inside the bones. A distinction is made between white bone marrow and red bone marrow.

Red bone marrow, made up of haematopoietic stem cells, produces the various blood cells essential for the body to function properly (white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets).

When the bone marrow does not function properly due to diseases such as leukaemia or aplastic anaemia, a bone marrow transplant (or stem cell transplant or haematopoietic cell transplant) may be necessary.

The process replaces the diseased or damaged marrow with healthy cells from the patient himself, from a compatible, healthy donor, or even from an umbilical cord.

The aim of this procedure is to restore the normal production of blood cells and strengthen the patient’s immune system.

What illness requires a bone marrow transplant?

Bone marrow transplants are intended for patients suffering from serious diseases of the blood system and certain cancers. It is available for men, women and children.

Here are the main diseases for which a bone marrow transplant may be necessary:

  • Leukaemia (lymphoblastic, myeloid) ;
  • Lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma;
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and myeloproliferative disorders (MDS);
  • Severe anaemia (aplastic, calcific, Fanconi);
  • Thalassaemia;
  • Immune deficiencies.

Transplantation can also be used to reproduce cells that have been severely damaged following heavy treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or to treat another disease (breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, etc.)

What are the different types of bone marrow transplant carried out in Turkey?

Turkish establishments specialising in bone marrow transplant procedures are, like their European counterparts, equipped to carry out all existing types of transplant.

Autologous bone marrow transplants

In an autologous bone marrow transplant, or autotransplantation, patients receive a transplant of their own healthy stem cells. These are generally collected before intensive anti-cancer treatment, then reinjected afterwards to restore the immune system and platelet production.

Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation

Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation involves the transfer of stem cells from a compatible donor to the patient. This procedure is used to replace the patient’s defective or diseased bone marrow with healthy stem cells in order to restore its normal function.

There are different types of allogeneic bone marrow transplants depending on where the donor comes from:

  • the donor is a fully compatible close relative (often a brother or sister). If the donor is a twin of the patient, this is known as a syngeneic (isogeneic) transplant. As mentioned above, stem cells can also come from an umbilical cord;
  • the donor is a close relative, but tissue antigen compatibility is not total (50%). This so-called haplo-identical transplant requires additional technical resources;
  • the donor has no family ties, but is fully compatible;

How is a bone marrow transplant carried out in Turkey?

The procedure for a bone marrow transplant differs depending on the type of transplant envisaged.

Procedure for an autologous bone marrow transplant in Turkey

First, the patient’s stem cells are safely collected , either surgically from the hip bone (under general anaesthetic), or by a simple blood test (peripheral blood) following drug stimulation.

Morphologists isolate the stem cells, which are then purified and frozen.

When the patient has completed his or her intensive treatment (chemotherapy or radiotherapy), healthy cells are reinjected. The graft is generally administered during surgery, either directly into the bone marrow using a catheter (a thin, flexible tube), or by infusion into a vein.

Procedure for an allogeneic bone marrow transplant in Turkey

Before receiving a transplant, the patient is prepared to increase the chances of success. A course of chemotherapy is administered, the duration of which depends on the source of the stem cells (between 6 and 9 days). Its aim is to eradicate any remaining cancer cells in the bone marrow so that they can be replaced by healthy cells.

As soon as the chemotherapy is finished, i.e. the following day, the bone marrow transplant is carried out by vein, in the same way as a transfusion, slowly and under medical supervision.

In all cases, the patient is closely monitored for 24 hours following the transplant.

What are the risks of a bone marrow transplant?

The most common complication following a bone marrow transplant is rejection, and this concerns allogeneic transplants. To limit the risk of rejection, the patient is given immunosuppressive treatment. These are drugs specifically designed to prevent the body’s immune response to foreign cells.

As with any medical procedure, the risk of infection is taken into account. To avoid any possible complications, the patient remains isolated in a sterile room and receives the medical treatment and care required to both prevent and cure them.

Why choose Turkey for a bone marrow transplant?

Turkey, and in particular Istanbul, a city with a wealth of health establishments nestling near the inevitable Bosphorus, is an increasingly popular destination for medical tourism. And with good reason!

Over the last few decades, Turkey has established itself as the European leader in successful bone marrow transplants. Worldwide, it rivals the United States, Germany and Israel.

Many world-renowned haematologists practise in Turkey. They have solid experience in oncohaematology, with some having practised for more than 30 years.

Turkish hospitals comply with the rigorous standards of modern medicine, as demonstrated by the fact that they have obtained numerous international accreditations. Turkey’s stem cell transplant centres are certified by the EBMT (European Blood and Marrow Transplant Group).

What’s more, the cost of treatment in Turkey is considerably lower than in many European countries, often 50% less, making it more accessible without compromising quality.

Renowned for their personalised and attentive approach to international patients, clinics and hospitals in Istanbul and other Turkish cities offer comprehensive support programmes.

How long do I have to stay in Turkey after a bone marrow transplant?

In the case of an autologous bone marrow transplant, the stay in Turkey is around 70 days. Hospitalisation, which generally lasts 45 days, is followed by outpatient medical supervision. This requires the patient to stay in Turkey for a further three weeks.

In the case of an allogeneic bone marrow transplant (unrelated donor), the total length of stay is 120 days, including two months in hospital.

How do I choose the best hospital for a bone marrow transplant in Turkey?

To select themost appropriate hospital for your bone marrow transplanttreatment, you need to find out a number of things:

  • The types of bone marrow transplants performed;
  • The patient’s age limit, if any; some bone marrow transplant centres do not accept patients under the age of 16;
  • The experience of the doctor(s);
  • The cost of the overall treatment for the transplant, including any search for a donor.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the recovery time after a bone marrow transplant in Turkey?

In general, recovery time after a bone marrow transplant is 2 months. The new bone marrow starts producing blood cells around 20 days after the procedure, but it may take 6 to 12 months for them to return to normal levels.

What is the success rate for a bone marrow transplant in Turkey?

According to Professor Betül Tavil from a hospital in Istanbul, bone marrow transplants are 90% effective in Turkey. The ever-increasing number of bone marrow transplants in Turkey bears witness to the fact that Turkish establishments provide safe and healthy transplants.

What are the side effects of a bone marrow transplant?

Bone marrow transplants can cause side effects such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, pain, anaemia, low blood pressure, shortness of breath, fever and even infection. More seriously, there may be bleeding or graft-versus-host disease.

How long does the bone marrow transplant procedure last?

12 to 36 hours after the graft is harvested from the donor, it is administered intravenously. After the procedure, which lasts between 3 and 4 hours, the patient, who is exposed to a major risk of infection, is isolated in a sterile room for 2 to 4 weeks.

How long do I have to wait for a donor in Turkey?

If you are suitable for an allogeneic bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor, the doctor will search for a donor on the 73 French and international marrow transplant registers. The wait can last from several weeks to several months.

Who can become a stem cell donor?

Anyone in good health, aged between 18 and 35, can donate stem cells. However, the probability of compatibility is ¼ between brother and sister, compared with 1 in 1 million with an unrelated donor, hence the importance of testing the patient’s siblings first.

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