Dr. John: Bone marrow donations, piriformis

KUSA - Dr. John Torres from Premier Urgent Care answers your questions every week. If you have a medical question for Dr. John, send it to mornings@9news.com and make sure to have Ask Dr. John in the subject line.

Question #1

Good Morning Dr. Torres, What are the parameters on age and health for bone marrow donations? I am unable to find that information. Thank you for your time. Ellen


First and foremost thanks for considering a bone marrow donation. Bone marrow, organ and blood donations all save lives so volunteering to donate can help someone else live a longer healthier life. Bone marrow is that spongy material inside of our bones. This material produces our red blood cells, platelets and infection fighting white blood cells. Bone marrow donations are used to replace the marrow in someone that's undergone treatment for conditions like leukemia or multiple myeloma. Currently the age for bone marrow donations are 18 to 60. This is because after age 60 the chances of complications from the donor process go up. Until recently this was because the only way to donate involved obtaining bone marrow from the pelvic bone. Newer, investigational methods are finding that after treatment with certain medications it's possible to get bone marrow stem cells that can be used in a transplant just by drawing blood from the arm, much like what's done during a regular blood donation. That will make the donation process much easier but for now the age range for donation is still 18 to 60.

Question #2

Hi Dr John - I had a piriformis muscle release in the 1990's. Recently the nerve pain associated with the scar has increased to where I have a miserable night's sleep. I recently tried acupuncture which inflamed it more. Any ideas on how to treat this? Thank you, Jackie


Although most surgeries are very successful chronic post-surgical pain can develop in some of them. And sometimes this pain shows up or increases years after the surgery. Oftentimes this is due to a buildup of scar tissue, especially if the scar tissue is near a major nerve or muscle. Treatment includes pain medication but you need to be careful here, especially with the ones that contain narcotic substances. Over time they will become less and less effective at treating the pain requiring higher doses for the same relief and can lead to addiction issues. Other medications, like gabapentin, can help control long term pain without the issues narcotic medications cause. But in addition to medication physical therapy, massage therapy and acupuncture can often help reduce these types of pain syndromes. Also, your surgeon or pain specialist can use steroid injections to try and reduce the scar tissue. In some cases a second surgery might be used to try and cut down on the scar tissue that's built up from the initial procedure.

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