Recovery After Blood or Bone Marrow Transplant

Contact Information

(608) 265-1700 (clinic)

The Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant program at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin has served adult patients since 1981 and pediatric patients since 1982.


Recovery After Blood or Bone Marrow Transplant


After you receive the stem cell infusion, it can take about two weeks before blood count recovery (also called engraftment). During this time, you will be at risk for serious, life-threatening infections and bleeding. You will probably need blood transfusions. You could require treatment with IV antibiotics or other drugs. You will likely have a sore mouth, a poor appetite, fatigue and nausea.


You will be an active participant in your recovery. Daily self-care like showers and dressing yourself, mouth care, eating, drinking and exercise are an important part of your recovery. You are expected to make your best effort toward self care each day as you are able.


Discharge from the Hospital


When blood counts have started to recover and you are eating, drinking and taking medications by mouth, you can be discharged from the hospital. You will not be fully recovered and will need at least some help from a family member or other caregiver. If you live outside the Madison area, your doctor may recommend that you stay in a local hotel until more fully recovered. You might need to wear a mask in public places to avoid infections. You'll be at risk for bleeding until your platelet count returns to normal.


For allogeneic transplant patients, you will contact your doctor or nurse practitioner if you have any signs of graft versus host disease or fever, rash, diarrhea or dehydration. Depending on symptoms, readmission to the hospital could be required.


Follow-up after Transplant


Blood tests, lab work, x-rays and other procedures will be done frequently in the first 100 days after transplant. Your doctor or nurse practitioner will see you in clinic at least weekly for the first 100 days. Complete disease staging will be done at about 100 days post-transplant. Your doctor or nurse practitioner will tell you how often to return to clinic after day 100, but most patients have at least annual follow up clinic visits.