It is impossible to predict when a liver will become
available – so we recommend that you are always prepared to come to the hospital. An overnight bag should always be ready
with clothes and items you will need in the hospital. We also recommend that you arrange a
transportation plan with family and/or friends.
You will receive instructions from the surgeon regarding the
specifics concerning travel to Lahey. Frequently, you will be asked to come in immediately
after the phone call. Deceased donor
livers will not survive for longer than 12 hours without a blood supply, and the
faster it is transplanted into a recipient, the higher the likelihood the
transplant will be successful.
If you are unable to reach Lahey within 4 to 6 hours of being
called, the liver will be offered to the next person on the waiting list. Should
this occur, your position of the waiting list will not be affected.
There is a 1 in 4 chance that the liver will be found to be unsuitable
for transplantation when it arrives. This
may be due to deterioration during transportation, or it may have been found to
have a disease or infection. If this happens,
you will be sent home to wait for the next liver. Your
position of the waiting list will not be affected.
At the hospital, your family will be allowed to accompany
you in the pre-op area where you will undergo a few preliminary tests to ensure
that you are still in good condition to receive the transplant. You will be allowed to spend some time with
your family before being transferred to the operating room.
You will be brought into the operating room on a gurney,
where the anesthesiologists will place you under general anesthesia. Once you are asleep, the team will insert a
tube in your throat that is connected to a machine that will help you breathe (a
ventilator). They will also insert a
tube (a Foley catheter) into your urethra and into your bladder to allow urine
to drain during the long surgery and a nasogastric tube through your nose to
drain the contents of your stomach.
Your surgical transplant team will consist of two or more surgeons, two anesthesiologists, and up to four
supporting nurses. The surgery can last
from 4 to 10 hours, depending on the difficulty of the procedure.
You will have either an L-shaped or a Y-shaped incision on
your abdomen that will be closed with staples. You will also have at least 2 drains in the surgical area to allow the fluids
that accumulate during recovery to be drained.
You will typically be discharged from the hospital about 7
to 10 days after your surgery. You must
meet certain criteria prior to discharge including:
You will have to come back to the hospital for
follow-up tests frequently. If you live
more than 1 hour away from Lahey, we can arrange for you to stay at a nearby
hotel. This will allow for easy access
to the transplant team and will avoid excessive travel.
Information about our living donor program.
Discover how our integrated, multidisciplinary group practice can provide you outstanding care.