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Life After a Receiving a Liver Transplant


Monday, April 17th, 2017

More than 30 million Americans have some type of liver disease. For many, a liver transplant may be their only hope.

Recovery from your liver transplant surgery is difficult and takes time. Whether you receive a liver from a deceased or living donor, you will need to follow a strict plan to recovery and get back to your day-to-day life.

Caregivers for Liver Transplant Recipients

Following a liver transplant, you are going to need some help. So, make sure you have a friend or family member who can be your caregiver. This person will need to help you:

Living donors save lives. Find out more about living donor liver transplant at UPMC. 

  • Take all of your medications correctly and at the right time.
  • Drive you to appointments. You will not be able to drive for at least six to eight weeks after your transplant.
  • Run errands and help with chores around the house. You will not be able to lift anything heavy or do anything too strenuous until your body has a chance to heal.

Anti-Rejection Drugs After Liver Transplant

The first few months after your transplant are often the most challenging. During this time, you may be more likely to get an infection, so it’s critical to take all your medications and stay in touch with your doctor.

RELATED: What Does the Liver Do for the Body?

The most important part of recovery is ensuring your body accepts its new organ. Your body’s immune system — which can tell the difference between your body’s cells and new cells, in this case an organ — may try to reject the new liver because it may see it as a threat.

After your liver transplant, you will have to take immunosuppression drugs to help your body get used to your new organ. While taking immunosuppressive drugs, you will be at a higher risk for infections or the flu. So, it is very important to:

  • Practice good hand-washing habits
  • Avoid people with infections or recent immunizations
  • Take extra care when handling sharp objects

Tips for Staying Healthy After a Liver Transplant

A healthy lifestyle is important after liver transplant. Healthy living helps your body heal and make the most of its new liver. These tips help you stay healthy after your transplant:

Healthy diet

Eat well-balanced diet after your liver transplant, including:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grain foods
  • Lean meats, poultry, and fish
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products

Exercise after transplant

It is important to exercise after transplant surgery, at least once or twice a week as you recover. Staying active and controlling your weight reduces your risk of stroke or heart attack.

Avoid alcohol

It is vital that you do not drink after your transplant to prevent damage. Learn more about the benefits of giving up alcohol.

transplant

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