Alternate Names : Hepatic Transplant, Transplantation of the Liver
What happens later at home?
At home, the recipient can expect a slow but steady recovery. Walking is encouraged to help prevent pneumonia and other lung complications. Walking also helps the person to regain strength. Heavy lifting and straining should be avoided for several weeks. Driving is permitted once the incision heals.
What are the potential complications after the procedure?
There are several complications that can affect a recipient of a liver transplant. Some of these can occur right after the surgery and others can occur at any time for the rest of the person's life. Complications include:
infection. Taking immunosuppressant medications makes a person more susceptible to infection.
major bleeding. This is common after transplantation because the new liver hasn't had enough time to make enough blood clotting proteins. Most liver transplant recipients need a blood transfusion along with their operation. Some may need a second operation within 24 to 48 hours to control major bleeding.
clotting of major vessels. Sometimes the major vessels that supply blood to the liver become blocked, or clot off. This can lead to sudden liver failure and the need for another liver transplant.
bile duct problems. Sometimes the connection between the bile duct and the intestine doesn't heal properly and bile leaks out. Or, sometimes scar tissue blocks the bile duct and bile is unable to flow.
rejection. The body's normal response to a transplanted organ is to reject it. Even though they take medications to prevent rejection, most recipients will have one or more episodes of rejection. These are treated by increasing the dose of the medication or switching to a different medication.
cancer. This is another long-term problem with immunosuppressant medications. The most common cancers that develop are skin cancer and lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells.