The operation has three major parts. First is the procurement of a donor liver. Second is the removal of the recipient’s own liver. The third part of the operation is the placement of the new liver.
Under general anesthesia, an incision is made on the upper part of the recipient’s abdomen. The surgical team removes the patient’s old liver, leaving portions of the major blood vessels in place. The surgeons then insert the new liver and attach it to these blood vessels and to the patient’s bile ducts. The operation usually takes eight hours.
After the Surgery After surgery, patients will be transferred to a specialized floor with expertise in managing patients post transplant. The patient is usually out of bed and walking within two to four days after surgery and is eating a normal diet within three to four days.
After the Surgery
Drugs to control rejection start immediately. During the hospital stay, patients are taught about the anti-rejection medications and become knowledgeable about the warning signs of rejection. To benefit our patients, all immunosuppression therapy is customized and minimized post transplant. As soon as the patient is able, the transplant team will begin to prepare him or her for going home, usually in seven days.
Patients are monitored very closely by the Hahnemann University Hospital Transplant Team for years after surgery. Organ recipients must return for appointments once a week for the first one to two months following surgery and less frequently after that. During the visits, blood tests are performed to detect early signs of rejection and any side effects from medication are addressed.
The Transplant Center follows patients routinely, working in collaboration with the patient’s primary hepatologist and family physician as appropriate.
Recovery at Home
Monitoring HealthAfter discharge from the hospital, the patient may be asked to monitor:
Recovery at Home
Guarding Against Infection Rejection is a complication that may occur after a transplant because the body’s immune system guards against attack by any foreign matter. The immune system identifies a liver transplanted from another person as “foreign” and goes on the defensive to battle this invader. To prevent this from happening, transplant patients need to take immunosuppressive medications every day.
Guarding Against Infection
Regular visits to the Transplant Team at Hahnemann will ensure early detection and treatment of rejection.
Preventing InfectionSince immunosuppressive medications interfere with the body’s natural immune system, it is essential for liver transplant patients to be vigilant in guarding against infection. These precautions are vitally important:
Keeping the Patient's Healthcare Team InformedCommunications and cooperation between the transplant team, local family physician, pharmacist, dentist and the patient is essential. The patient must be sure that each health care provider knows about the transplant, daily medications taken, and the precautions that must be followed to ensure the patient’s health.
Keeping the Patient's Healthcare Team Informed
Coping with EmotionsHahnemann offers counseling services to help patients cope with stressful feelings, adjust to life at home and prepare for return to work or school. The transplant coordinator or social worker can provide information regarding these services.
Coping with Emotions
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