• Liver Transplant Recovery After Surgery at Lahey

    When you arrive home after your liver transplant, you should begin to do muscle toning exercises and walk 5-10 minutes each day. You should slowly increase the time each week to enhance overall recovery. Lahey will arrange for a nurse from the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) in your location to visit you at home for the first three weeks after your discharge.

    Visiting nurses are the eyes and ears of the transplant team after your discharge. They will check your medications, vital signs, incisions, drains and will also look for signs of infection.  Depending on your condition, you may be visited daily or three times per week. The VNA visits will continue until you are healthy enough to take care of yourself.

    Anti-Rejection Medications 

    When a foreign object enters the body, the immune system recognizes it as unfamiliar and will try to destroy it in order to protect the body. Your body will view your transplanted liver as a foreign object and will try to destroy it. The process is called rejection, and to combat it, you will have to take several medications called immunosuppressants that will prevent your immune system from attacking your new liver.

    Your first dose of immunosuppressants will take place at the time of your surgery, and you will need to take them for as long as your transplanted liver is functioning within your body. Some of the medications have side effects, and you may have to take additional medications to counteract these unwanted effects.

    Our post-transplant nurse coordinator and our transplant pharmacist will educate you on all aspects of your medications. They will give you a card that describes the medicines you need to take as well as their side effects, and the time, frequency and amount of each that you should take.

    Remember that after you leave the hospital and are finished with VNA visits, taking your medications correctly will be your responsibility. You should call the transplant office if you miss a medication dose or have other concerns.

    Liver Transplant Recovery Time 

    The following can generally be expected during your recovery:

    • In 1 month – The staples will be removed from the incision area at the transplant center. 
    • In 2 months – You may lift up to 15 pounds (babies, small pets, groceries.) 
    • In 2 1/2 months – Your bile tube and drainage tubes will be removed during a clinic visit. 
    • In 3 months – You may begin jogging. 
    • In 3-6 months – Your liver incisions will have healed. You may also go back to work; some people choose to return part time if still experiencing fatigue. 
    • In 1 year – You may begin playing sports and weightlifting. However, you should get the transplant team’s approval before engaging in these activities. 


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