Safe recovery from liver transplant surgery increases the chances of a successful surgery. However, recovery requires significant care and routine. Follow all the instructions from your doctor. You should never miss any routine visit and take all your medications on time.
Caring After Liver Transplant
The patient requires extensive care after liver transplant surgery. While the body needs to adjust to the new liver, certain precautions and care will help in the successful outcome of the transplant surgery. The nurses and other para-medical staff provide the initial care to the patient. The patient needs to stay at the hospital for around 10 to 14 days post-transplant surgery. This stay may be more in case of any complication. The recovery period is lengthy and may take somewhere around 3 to six months.
Your doctor prescribes you various medications. You should take your medications strictly as per the schedule. Although all the medicines are important, some are critical for the success of the transplant surgery. One of the most important medication is immunosuppressant. These drugs prevent the rejection of the new liver by suppressing the immune system of the body. The patient requires to take the immunosuppressants for the rest of their life. Your doctor may also prescribe analgesics to provide relief from pain and antibiotics to avoid any infection. Your doctor may stop or reduce the dose of some drugs during the period of your recovery.
Risk Of Infections
One of the advantages of immunosuppressant drugs is that they suppress the immune system and make you vulnerable to infection. Thus, practice hygiene to minimize the risk of infection. Avoid meeting someone who you know has an infection and do not handle the sharp objects that may cause injury. You should also frequently wash your hands and take medications to prevent infection.
Diet is important during the recovery period. Take a healthy diet. Adequate nutrition will help you to accelerate wound healing and help you to come out from the mental and physical stress due to disease and surgery. Avoid sugar-rich and fatty food as they may result in weight gain. Take advice from a dietician who has experience in managing the diet for liver transplant patients. Because of the compromised immune system, the person is vulnerable to foodborne infections. Avoid eating raw food and prefer to incorporate the cooked food in your diet.
Exercise is important to avoid complications due to prolonged inactivity. It will also help in performing normal activities as soon as possible. However, you should perform the exercise only under the guidance of an expert. Doing exercise without guidance may cause injury and increase the period of recovery.
The patient should undergo a healthy lifestyle after liver transplant surgery. Avoid drinking alcohol as it may cause undue pressure on the liver as the liver metabolizes alcohol. Do not smoke as it has toxic chemicals that may affect your overall health.
Recovery From Liver Transplant Surgery
The recovery from liver transplant surgery takes place in a few phases. The level of activities increases in each phase. After a few months, you may return to your normal activities. There is no problem in performing sexual activities a few weeks after the liver transplant surgery. Ask for more information from your doctor. Avoid driving for at least two months after the surgery, as certain medications may reduce your ability to see and to take safety steps in case of emergency.
Tips To Improve Recovery
Apart from the normal recovery process, medications, diet, and exercise, certain tips may help you to accelerate your recovery. These tips include:
- Take a walk every day to avoid constipation and other complications.
- Take good care of the incision wound. Keep the incision area dry and clean and change the bandage daily.
- Do not lift heavy objects or perform strenuous exercise.
- Avoid stress and take a sound sleep.
Contact The Doctor
Visit the doctor’s clinic for a routine check-up as per the schedule. This will allow your doctor to evaluate the health of your new liver and to take the necessary steps if required. However, in between the scheduled visit or anytime in the future, immediately contact your doctor if you experience the following symptoms:
- Itchy skin
- Swelling in ankles
- Redness or formation of pus around the incision
Patients and healthcare professionals should take a multifactorial approach during the recovery period. Apart from the medications, various factors affect the recovery after liver transplant surgery. These include exercise, walking, diet, and a healthy lifestyle.