A liver transplant is surgery to give you a healthy liver from another person. You may get a whole new liver or just part of a new liver. The new liver may come from someone you know. Or it may come from a stranger or a person who has died.
To do the surgery, the doctor makes a cut in your upper belly. This cut is called an incision. Then the doctor removes your liver. Next he or she connects the blood vessels of the new liver to your blood vessels. He or she also connects the bile duct of the new liver to your bile duct. The doctor finishes the surgery by closing your incision with stitches or staples. These are removed about 1 to 3 weeks after surgery. The incision will leave a scar that will fade with time.
After surgery, the new liver will start to do the work that your old liver could not.
You will probably spend 10 to 20 days in the hospital. Most people are able to go back to work in about 2 to 3 months. But it depends on the type of work you do and how you feel.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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