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Life After Becoming a Living Liver Donor


Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Becoming a living transplant donor is a major decision.

You’re not just saving one life. You give a piece of your liver for someone else to live a happier, healthier life. And, you forever leave a mark on your liver recipient’s family and friends.

Being a living liver donor comes with benefits and risks that you should know before deciding to donate.

Read more about the recovery process and life after living liver donation.

You can save a life. Learn more about becoming a living liver donor. 

Recovery for Living Donors

The recovery process for living liver donors is different for everyone and depends on your health before the surgery.

RELATED: What Does the Liver Do for the Body?

Fortunately, you won’t need to take any medications after your surgery. And, you should be able to go home in about a week.

Once you’re home, you’ll be able to return to most of your normal activities, including:

  • Showering
  • Getting dressed
  • Simple daily tasks around the house

You will have some limits after your surgery.

For example, you:

  • Will need someone to take care of physical household activities.
  • Won’t be able to drive for about three weeks.
  • Shouldn’t push or lift heavy objects or children.

Most donors can return to work about eight weeks after surgery. If your job requires heavy lifting, bending, or stretching you will need a few more weeks before going back to work.

Tips for Staying Healthy After Living Donor Surgery

After a liver transplant, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This will help you heal faster and return to normal life.

Stay healthy after your living donor liver transplant with these tips:

  • Avoid heavy lifting. You won’t be able to lift more than 10 pounds after surgery. Lifting too much too soon could cause you to get a hernia.
  • Stick to a healthy diet. Avoid fried food, excess cheese, and creamy foods.
  • Try exercise. You can do some physical activity one or two days a week as you heal. Avoid anything that’s overly exerting.
  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking water will help you heal and prevent constipation.

Liver regeneration

It’s helpful to keep in mind that, as a donor, your liver will return to its normal size after you have donated.

The portion the surgeon removed will not grow back, but the rest of your liver will grow to fill that space. This takes about two to three months.

Remember, life-saving transplants would not be possible without you. While you’ll need to take your time recovering, you will get back to a normal and healthy life after being a donor.

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Transplant Services

For more than 30 years, UPMC Transplantation Services has defined the field of transplantation. Since 1981, we have performed more than 17,500 organ transplants. Our role as a pioneer in solid organ transplantation has allowed us to develop some of the most extensive clinical expertise in the field, giving hope to patients across the country and around the world. Read More