• Liver Transplant Facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Q: What are the pros and cons of having a liver transplantation?  

    A: Liver transplant is a life-saving operation. You will enjoy better health, a longer life expectancy and a better quality of life. The cons include surgical complications, organ rejection or other post-surgery complications, side effects of the immunosuppressive drugs, and medical costs that may not be covered by insurance.

    Q: How do I get on the waiting list to receive a liver?

    A: First, ask your doctor for a referral to the Lahey Liver Transplant Program. Then make an appointment for an initial consultation. If you and your physicians feel it is appropriate for you to continue, a comprehensive, two-day evaluation will be scheduled. Two weeks after that, the transplant team will meet to review all the information that was gathered and, if there are no outstanding issues, your name will be placed on the waiting list.

    Q: How does the waiting list work?

    A: The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) maintains the waiting list for organ donation. 

    Q: How long do I have to wait to receive a liver? 

    A: Liver waiting list times can range from weeks to years, depending on a number of factors. The average waiting time in New England for a liver is about 2 to 2½ years.

    Q: Who can be a live liver donor?  

    A: Live liver donors are relatives, friends or acquaintances of the person needing a liver transplant. Living donors must be between 18 and 60 years old, have a compatible blood type and body size as determined by height and weight. Potential donors must have no serious medical conditions such as liver disease, diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.

    Q: How long will I be in the hospital after a liver transplant?

    A: Following a liver transplant, most people are in the hospital for about 7-10 days.

    Q: Do I need to take medication after a liver transplant?  

    A: You will start taking immunosuppressant medications immediately after surgery. Patients in our transplant program take at least one immunosuppressive medication for the rest of their lives.

    Q: Can I return to work after a liver transplant?  

    A: Absolutely. Most people need at least six months to recover from surgery before they return to work on a full-time basis. Some people choose to return part-time if they are still experiencing fatigue. 

    Q: Can I travel after a liver transplant?  

    A: Yes. You can travel near and far as long as you always have your medication with you.

    Q: Can I have children after a liver transplant?

    A: Yes. Following transplant, women have become pregnant and have delivered healthy babies, and men have fathered children. Planning a pregnancy, however, should be carefully discussed with the transplant team.

    Q: Can I play sports after a liver transplant?

    A: Yes. Everyday sports such as tennis, golf, softball and basketball are not only fun, but also a good way to stay in shape following transplant.



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