Life After Liver Transplant
After your liver transplant surgery at Tampa General Hospital, you will need to stay within a few hour’s drive of Tampa General for the next four to six weeks. If you live outside of this geographical radius, our social workers can assist you with finding appropriate housing, and Tampa General’s Transplant Houses may be a viable option. If you were very sick before your procedure was performed, you may be discharged to a local rehabilitation facility for a short time to help you regain physical strength before you return to your home or other lodging.
Post-Op Appointment Schedules
During the four to six weeks following your surgery, you will make important, regular visits to the Tampa General Medical Group’s Transplant & Specialty Services location at 409 Bayshore Blvd. There, you’ll undergo exams and labs that can help our team monitor your progress and note any signs of infection or organ rejection. These visits will also include clinic visits and lab testing and the cadence will be determined by your care team. Every patient that receives a liver transplant from our hospital is different, so the specific post-operative examination schedule can vary. However, here is a sample of what a typical patient can expect:
- Twice-weekly visits for the first month after surgery
- Weekly/biweekly visits for the second month after surgery
- Monthly visits for the third month after surgery
- Follow-up visits in third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth months after surgery.
- Biannual/annual visits every subsequent year after surgery
Throughout the post-operative process, it’s essential to bring along family or friends who are willing to assist you with your liver transplant recovery. Not only will you need someone to drive you back and forth from the clinic, but you’ll also need a devoted care partner to accompany you to every meeting. In anticipation of the complex medical care required for your recovery at home, your care partner should understand the challenges ahead.
One of the many responsibilities that you will have is keeping a current list of your medications and this is data that you will need to bring to all of your follow-up examinations at TGMG Transplant & Specialty Services. Timely laboratory testing is key to ensure that your liver transplant health care team can recognize signs of potential problems and make any necessary treatment adjustments. Attending your appointments, taking your medication, and being vigilant about your testing is key to maintaining long-term function of your transplant.
Additional testing may be needed on occasion to give the transplant team more information on how your liver transplant is performing. Immunosuppression or antirejection medications must be taken for life to ensure proper function of your transplant, but it will also be important to communicate with your coordinator any new changes to your medications or any change in your health care status. The transplant team can work with your other care providers, such as your primary care physician, regarding decisions about your health as follow-up appointments with the transplant center and laboratory testing will be lifelong.
Common Post-Surgery Questions
We often get asked by patients how they’re able to express their gratitude to donor’s families. If you decide you would like to write a letter of thanks to your donor’s family after your transplant, you may do so, but please do not include your last name or other personal details. Similarly, you will not receive any personal details about your donor. Your nurse coordinator can forward your letter to the donor’s family through LifeLink Foundation, Inc., the organ procurement organization Tampa General Hospital works with to find organs for the patients on our liver transplant list.
For more information about the post-surgery appointment schedule and advice for liver transplant patients at Tampa General Hospital’s Advanced Organ Disease & Transplantation Institute, please call the transplant office at 1-800-505-7769 (press 4 for the liver transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or call the coordinator directly at (813) 844-8686.