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Liver Donation Surgery Recovery

Discharge Instructions for Liver Donation Surgery Recovery

After spending some time in the hospital, you will go home to complete the liver donation surgery recovery process.
When you leave the hospital, your healthcare team will give you specific instructions on what you should and should not do as you recover from surgery. These will probably be written on a handout.
You may leave the hospital with a tube, called a JP drain, left in your abdomen. This is to drain any bile that may be leaking from your liver. If this drain is needed, you will receive instructions on how to care for it. It will be removed during an office visit early in your recovery.
Your doctor will prescribe medication to help you with any pain you may still be feeling. You are encouraged to use this medicine on a regular basis. Taking pain medications regularly can help you feel more comfortable getting out of bed and moving around, which is an important part of the recovery process.
You will also schedule follow-up appointments so that your healthcare provider can monitor how your liver is doing and how well your recovery is going.

Liver Donation Surgery Recovery: The First Few Weeks

When you first return home, you will need to rest and allow time for your body to recover. Before you leave the hospital, you can usually start taking showers again. This happens about 3 days after your liver donation surgery. Be gentle as you wash the surgical incision, and especially as you dry it. Gently pat it dry with a towel.
You won't be allowed to drive for a period of time after your surgery. Most people can return to driving when they don't need narcotic pain medicines and when their discomfort from the surgery has decreased to the point that it doesn't affect their reaction time. This is usually a couple of weeks after returning home from the hospital.
Once you are feeling up to it, you can return to light activities. These include things like:
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Hobbies that don't include strenuous exercise
  • Within reason, having sex.
Heavy lifting and strenuous activities should be avoided for at least 6 weeks, as your body is still healing.
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