Late Complications after a Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplant

Learn about complications that can occur months or years after transplant and how to manage them.

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Some of the complications associated with a bone marrow or stem cell transplant are not apparent until several months, or even years after treatment. Most of them resolve with time, but others may be permanent and need attention long-term.

After a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, late complications can occur, and some complications that developed early after transplant may persist including:

  • chronic graft-versus-host disease (if you were transplanted with cells from a donor) 
  • learning, memory and attention problems
  • chronic fatigue
  • sleep issues
  • sexual difficulties
  • infertility
  • cataracts

Less frequently, patients experience

  • breathing problems
  • peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in hands and feet)
  • dental problems
  • muscular or skeletal problems
  • heart problems
  • kidney disorders
  • secondary cancers

No one experiences all of these complications. Your risk for developing problems after transplant will depend on your disease, type of transplant you had, your age and prior treatment history. Many complications are preventable with proper screening, preventive measures and lifestyle changes.

​Watch a video about complications that can arise long-term after a transplant with donor cells (an allogeneic transplant).

Watch a video about complications that can arise long-term after a transplant using your own cells (an autologous transplant).

Click here to learn more about chronic graft-versus-host disease.

Learn about additional late complications that can arise after a child has a bone marrow, stem cell or cord blood transplant.

(To view this page in Spanish click here)

Next Page: Learning and Memory Problems

Updated August, 2023