Becoming a living transplant donor is a major decision.
You’re not just saving one life. You’re giving 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.
Click Here to Learn More about Receiving a liver transplant. Contact UPMC.
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Recovery for Living Donors
The recovery process for living liver donors is different for everyone and depends on your health before the surgery.
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:
- 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 extra weeks off 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 or creamy foods and excess cheese.
- Try to 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.
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 regeneration 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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About Transplant Services
Established in 1981, UPMC Transplant Services is one of the foremost organ transplant centers in the world. Our clinicians have performed more than 20,000 organ transplant procedures, including liver, kidney, pancreas, single and double lung, heart, and more. We are home to some of the world’s foremost transplant experts and have a long history of developing new antirejection therapies—so organ recipients can enjoy better health with fewer restrictions.