You will spend a week or two at the hospital after your surgery. Recovery after your liver transplant can take several months. During that time, you will need to consider these lifestyle changes:
- Carefully plan any attempt at pregnancy
- Follow a lifelong healthcare plan
- Keep follow-up appointments and get routine liver function testing
- Manage anti-rejection medications and their side effects
- Prevent infections
- Treat other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
- Watch for signs of rejection (ask your doctor to describe these)
- Address emotional issues and seek appropriate support
Your long-term results will depend on your specific case. In general, about 75 percent of people who have a liver transplant live for at least five years.
People who receive a living donor liver (instead of a part or whole cadaver liver) often have better survival rates. Still, it is essential to remember that these people often had to wait less time to receive their liver and were potentially not as sick as patients who waited for a deceased donor.
You can follow your long-term care plan and stay diligent about taking your anti-rejection medications to help extend the life of your new liver.
What are the symptoms of rejection?
It is not always easy to tell if a liver is being rejected. Often, the only way to know for sure is by getting regular blood tests. When symptoms do exist, they may include:
- Dark-colored urine
- Loss of appetite
- Itchy skin
- Tenderness in the abdomen
Rejection is most common during the first three months after your procedure, but can occur at any time. The immunosuppressive medications that you take will help to prevent your immune system from attacking donor liver cells.
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.