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Post-Liver Transplant

Clinic Visits

Although the hospitalization is relatively post-liver transplantation, our physicians and staff continue to monitor recent liver recipients very closely in the clinic. Patients enjoy the comfort of home as they recover, yet still receive the medical attention they need at our clinic.

Clinic visits are scheduled weekly or twice-weekly during the early period post-transplant, and the time between visits will be increased according to the patient's needs. Patients from outside the Greater Houston area should plan to stay in Houston for 4 to 6 weeks after transplant to ensure that this close follow-up is possible.

Life after Liver Transplantation

The goal of liver transplantation is to return patients to a full, satisfying quality of life after surgery. This recovery to normal function may take months after liver transplantation, depending on the severity of liver disease before transplantation.

Many patients go back to school, work, and activities they enjoyed prior to developing significant liver disease. Patients are able to exercise and participate in sports as a part of recovery.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

Women and men are able to have children, but it is recommended that women inform the Transplant Center months prior to trying to conceive that they want to have a baby. The Transplant Center will inform the woman if she is healthy enough to carry the baby safely. Some of the immunosuppressive medications will have to be adjusted because they could hurt the baby.

Weight Gain

Many people find that they easily gain weight post-transplant.  This is partially because of the immunosuppression drug regimen and also because after transplant patients feel better, and therefore have a better appetite.

Patients with significant fluid weight as a result of ascites or other fluid retention may lose a significant amount of weight in the months after transplant. The Transplant Center has a dietician that councils the patients on proper diet and exercise and encourages a healthy active lifestyle that involves no tobacco, illegal drug, or alcohol use.  This should help extend the life of the liver and the patient.

Monitoring and Doctor Visits

Patients will be followed very closely in clinic during the first few months after transplant to monitor the function of the transplanted liver and to ensure that the recovery process is continuing normally. Clinic visits will become less frequent according to the patient's needs.

The doctors involved with the patient's care prior to transplantation will remain involved to help provide the best care possible for the liver recipient and to make sure that routine health maintenance strategies (like pap smears and colonoscopies) are being followed.

Support Group

Transplantation can sometimes seem overwhelming for patients. The Transplant Center offers a transplant support group that is run by our transplant social workers. The support group meets monthly and encompasses patients who are both waiting for a transplant and those who have already received a transplant.

Every other month, a guest speaker is invited to talk about a topic of interest to the group. In between, the support group functions in a more traditional way where patients share their experiences, provide insightful help and recommendations, ask questions, and form relationships with other patients going through similar issues. Adult family members, friends, and caregivers are welcome and encouraged to come with the patient.