- Living Liver Transplantation
- Donor Assessment / Procedure
- Checking into hospital
- The Day / After Surgery
How do I get treatment?
For further information and appointments please see the below contact numbers:
For Mr Rob Hutchins:
020 7234 2940
For the following Consultants:
020 7234 2730
Professor Nigel Heaton
Mr Parthi Srinivasan
Mr Andreas A. Prachalias
Dr Phil M. Harrison
Dr Michael Heneghan
Post liver transplant surgery, London
The Day of the Liver Transplant Surgery
Surgery is normally scheduled to begin between 7.00am and 8.00am . The start time will be confirmed the evening before.
Two separate theatres will be used in sequence.
After Surgery, and Rehabilition from Donating a Liver
The liver donor’s hospital stage will be between six and ten days. Over the first 48 hours the donor will need a lot of rest and sleep to recuperate from the anaesthetic and surgery. It is important that the liver donor takes time to acknowledge the extent of surgery and allow themselves time to recover at a steady pace. It will be a week, possibly longer before independence returns.
Occasionally the donor may return from the theatre connected to a respirator. Nowadays though this is unlikely and often oxygen will be administered via a mask for a few hours only.
An important aspect of the recovery from donating a liver which requires discussion is pain. The surgeons will cut through strong and healthy muscles and tissues to perform the partial hepatectomy. In addition, nerve endings are exposed alongside the liver which will be painful to heal. General bruising and inflammation will also occur. The anaesthetists often prefer to manage the pain using an epidural administered via an intrathecal needle into the lower back region. However, discomfort is inevitable following this surgery. The transplant team will work with the donor to make this pain as bearable as possible.
For the first two to three days post operatively the Phsyiotherapist will see the donor daily focusing on breathing exercises to prevent a chest infection and slow mobilisation in order to regain full independence. The donor will be asked to wear constrictive TED stockings (Thrombo Embolus Deterrent) to assist peripheral circulation whilst mobility is limited. Another reason for TED stockings is that occasionally, but rarely nowadays, the surgeons may remove part of the saphenous vein of the inside leg to use when reconstructing the hepatic artery of the graft.
Fluids and diet will be introduced when the surgeons are certain that the stomach and bowel are functioning normally. The nursing staff will monitor vital observations and fluid balance at regular intervals and the medical team will monitor blood tests daily to ensure that liver function is normal, the wound is healing well and there are no signs of infection. The surgeons will also visit at regular intervals as will the transplant co-ordinator.
The donor may feel well enough to visit the recipient from 72 hours following surgery but this is dependant on the individual. The medical team will discharge the donor when liver function tests are normal, there is no sign of infection and a good degree of mobility and appetite has returned.
The donor will be discharged with appropriate pain medication and an outpatient appointment with the surgical team for a fortnight and thereafter as required.
It is advised that the donor sleep in a bed with a firm mattress for the next fortnight.
The donor may experience numbness in the abdominal region while muscle layers are healing. Constipation should be avoided. If the bowels are not opened after five days, please speak to the nursing staff. Acid indigestion can be treated with an oral antacid e.g. Rantidine. Abstinence from alcohol whilst recuperating is recommended.