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Team Resolve

February 6, 2022

Effective Tips And Care After A Liver Transplant Surgery.

The estimated need for a liver transplant in India is approximately twenty thousand (20,000) people. But the number of liver transplant surgeries performed remains around 800-1000 every year. Liver transplants may be performed in patients with an end-stage liver problem or someone who had a sudden liver failure. The majority of surgeries are performed in elderly people rather than in middle-aged or teen individuals. Due to the advancement in medical technologies, the success rate of liver transplant surgery is around 90%. Exceptional facility and holistic care are provided to the patients!

Table of Contents

What Is A Liver Transplant?

A liver transplant, also known as a hepatic transplant is a surgical procedure where the diseased or affected liver is replaced by a healthy and functioning liver from a donor. It is performed in individuals with end-stage liver disease or in patients who had sudden organ failure due to any trauma or accidents. The major limitation of the transplantation procedure is the availability of the organ.

 

The survival rate of the patient is pretty high after a successful liver transplant surgery. There are chances where the transplanted liver can fail or the original disease may return but trying out a chance to live is what is important and an optimistic step towards survival.

 

Every citizen of India should take the initiative to donate their organs before their demise. Though there remains the possibility of graft rejection, we never know what one organ can do for a suffering patient.

 

What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of A Liver Transplant?

Causes

The causes and the risk factors which can lead to a liver transplant surgery are:
  1. Chronic liver failure due to any trauma or accident.
  2. Cirrhosis: the most common cause of chronic liver failure is cirrhosis. It is a condition in which the normal tissue of the liver is replaced by scar tissues.
  3. Secondary causes of liver failure: the factors that lead  to cirrhosis, which further cause chronic liver failure are:
      1. Hepatitis B and C
      2. Alcoholic damage to the liver: it occurs when the patient is a heavy consumer of alcohol.
      3. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: it is a condition where inflammation of normal liver cells occurs due to fat build-ups. It damages the healthy cells of the liver.
      4. Diseases that affect the bile duct: diseases like primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis and biliary atresia can affect the bile duct: the tube that carries bile away from the liver. 
      5. Hemochromatosis: it is a genetic disorder that leads to excess iron build-up in the liver.
      6. Wilson’s disease: a genetic disorder that leads to an excess copper build up in the liver.

Symptoms

In most people, the symptoms start to appear with the disorders, especially cirrhosis. In other patients, the symptoms can appear all of a sudden.

The symptoms before chronic liver damage are mainly the symptoms of cirrhosis.

The most common or widely seen symptoms of chronic liver failure that needs transplantation are:

  1. Yellowing of the eyes.
  2. Ascites: accumulation of fluid in the abdomen.
  3. Hepatic encephalopathy: the patient can have confusion and can even go into a coma.
  4. Bleeding in the lower and upper gastrointestinal tract due to varices. Varices are the large veins that form in the food pipe due to cirrhosis.
  5. Fatigue and weakness.
  6. Unexplained weight loss.
  7. Loss of appetite.
  8. Frequent infections.

What Are The Types Of Liver Transplants?

There are mainly three types of liver transplantations:

  1. Orthotopic liver transplant: orthotopic liver transplant is the most common type where the liver is taken from a deceased individual and is then used to replace the patient’s damaged liver.
  2. Living donor transplant: an interesting fact about the liver is that it can regenerate itself. So a small portion of a living liver is taken from a living individual which is then used to replace the damaged part of the liver of the patient.
  3. Split donation: a liver is collected from a deceased individual, which is then split in half. Each split is given to each patient. The liver then regenerates itself.

A Liver Transplant Might Not Be A Good Option For A Patient, If:

A liver transplant might not be a good option for the patient due to the following reasons:

  1. If the surgery is performed at an advanced age: the recovery process and the graft acceptance by the patient’s body, might not go well due to age complications.
  2. The patient has chronic diseases like high diabetes, heart or liver problems. The diseases can interfere with the graft acceptance by the patient’s body.
  3. The patient has an active infection.
  4. The patient is unwilling to make necessary lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and limiting the consumption of alcohol.
  5. The patient has a recent medical history of cancer.

What Can The Patient Expect?

Before The Surgery

Before the surgery, the patient can expect the following things:

  1. The doctor takes the medical history of the patient.
  2. Arranging and matching of the graft for the patient, blood matching, tissue matching and cross-examination is done by the organization.
  3. The doctor asks to stop the consumption of certain medications before the surgery.
  4. The patient is usually kept under the supervision of the hospital for about 24 hours before going in with the surgery. 
  5. The doctors monitor the health status like blood pressure, blood sugar level, pulse, etc.
  6. Bond signatures are necessary before surgery.

During The Surgery

During the surgery the patient can expect the following things:

  1. The patient is usually given a general anesthetic.
  2. The surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen to access the liver.
  3. The surgeon replaces the damaged or diseased liver with the donor’s liver.
  4. The blood vessels and ducts of the patient are connected to the graft.
  5. The surgery may take around 12 hours.
  6. Once the graft is placed and the changes are incorporated, the surgeon then seals off the incision with stitches or medical staples.

After The Surgery

Immediately after the surgery, the patient might not have consciousness. The following things can be experienced by the patient:

  1. The patient is kept under the supervision of the medical professionals in the ICU, depending upon how much time they need.
  2. The patient is then shifted to regular hospital rooms.
  3. The patient stays in the hospital for about 2-3 weeks.
  4. Regular monthly visits by the patient, to the doctor, are necessary for the initial 3 months of the treatment.
  5. The doctor monitors the health condition and examines if there are any signs of graft rejection.
  6. To avoid the chances of graft rejection, the patients are given immunosuppressants. (Note: it is advisable that the patient should contact a doctor before trying out any medications).



What Can Be Done At Home: Precautions And Care

The transplant aims to help the patient return to a healthy lifestyle where they can perform normal daily activities. Undergoing surgery is a big step for a patient. After the surgery, the patient should be extra careful about the fact that no complications should arise from negligence. The following home remedies and tips can be used by the patient and their family members for a smoother recovery:

  1. The patient should avoid any heavy and strenuous activities.
  2. The patient should take adequate rest: taking rest doesn’t mean that the patient must lie down the entire time. A little physical work can help in better blood circulation and avoid any risks of having a blood clot.
  3. The patient should avoid any foods that might interact with the medicines.
  4. The patient and the family members should maintain good food hygiene to avoid any chances of infections.
  5. Patients should follow a healthy diet and keep themselves hydrated.
  6. Personal hygiene, dental hygiene and cleaning the incision area should be done by the patient. 
  7. The patient should wear comfortable clothes.
  8. The incision area should be cleaned with antiseptic. (Note: the antiseptic prescribed by the doctor should be used while cleaning the wound)
  9. Regular updates to the doctor about the condition and health of the patient should be done by the patient or their family members.
  10. The patient should take proper medications prescribed by the doctor. (Note: the patient should contact a doctor before trying out any medications)
  11. If there is swelling in the body, the patient can take a hot saltwater bath.
  12.  The patient should avoid coming in close contact with any person having a bacterial infection.
  13. The patient should restrain from smoking and consuming alcohol during the recovery phase.
  14.  The patient should take immunosuppressants. (Note: the patient should contact a doctor before trying out any medications)
  15. The patient can take therapies or indulge in programs made for liver transplantations.  
  16. The patient should avoid bending and should get a toilet seat riser, in case of low toilets.
  17. When the patient feels better and has the confidence of doing activities, they should start with easy and light tasks.
  18. When the patient feels confident, they can ask their doctor if the time is suitable for them to start driving again.
  19. Undergoing surgery is a huge take on mental health. So, if the patient feels demotivated or depressed they should share and let their close ones know. The family members should support them in the journey. Being patient and optimistic is the key.
  20. If faced with any signs of infection or other unexpected occurring, the patient must immediately contact their doctor.

Process Of Recovery After A Liver Transplant Surgery

After 3 months of the transplant, the patient can feel normal to return to their daily activities. Though it is always advisable to contact their doctor before doing so.

There remain chances of graft rejection. So, regular monitoring by the doctor is necessary. The patient should properly take their immunosuppressants. A successful liver transplant can give life worth about 20 years or more.

Disclaimer

The above-mentioned remedies and medicines; are over the counter medicines (most of them) and are effective in most cases. It is advisable to contact the doctor before taking any medications.

Why Should Someone Choose Resolve360?

Resolve360 is an online rehabilitation platform for post-surgery clinical assessments, that provides solutions to post-surgery care and rehabilitation facilities for the patients. There are several programs on how to take care after undergoing surgery, what precautions and care one should take. There is free access to knowledge and consultation. For further details, don’t forget to contact us! We will take extreme pride in serving you! HAPPY RECOVERY! For further detailed knowledge kindly go through the following points.
  1. Resolve360 is a promising online platform, where one can receive treatment at the comfort of their own home. 
  2. We are available on both the google play store and the app store.
  3. There’s Tiana, our chat buddy to guide you 24/7 through all your doubts, progress and feedback.
  4. Our team specializes in providing the following services:
    1. Physiotherapy
    2. Speech therapy
    3. Clinical psychological counselling
    4. Antenatal and postnatal care
    5. Pregnancy wellness
    6. Covid rehabilitation facilities
  5. The patients don’t need to worry about traveling long distances to receive their post-surgery treatment or rehab.
  6. The patients can save up the time and can utilize that time to take care of themselves.
  7. For a smooth, at-home experience the patients are offered the following facilities:
    1. Live sessions,
    2. video conferencing and 
    3. Video prescriptions 
  8. Building trust is really important. So, we always try our best to provide the maximum support to the patients to make them feel comfortable. 
  9. We always schedule the timings of the meetings based on the patient’s preference. Rescheduling can also be done if there are any problems.
  10. When a patient comes to our doctor it becomes the responsibility of our doctor to give them a healthy life.
  11. We guarantee that doctors will never leave their patients. 
  12. The patients can openly talk about their problems and we assure that the information will be between the patients and the doctors only. 
  13. Our doctors plan every step necessary for their patients, starting from planning out exercises to drafting their diet charts. 
  14. The doctors on the platform are extremely reliable and are certified professionals with experience. 
  15. It is a platform that provides solutions to every problem, starting with home remedies to prescribed medications. 
  16. The patient’s trust is our confidence!

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