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Potential Causes of Stress Following Liver Donation Surgery

Potential causes of stress following liver donation surgery include more pain than was expected afterwards, limited physical activity during recovery, and financial difficulties. Because prolonged stress can lead to other problems, it is important to talk to your doctor if you are having difficulties. He or she can offer ways to minimize these potential causes of stress following liver donation surgery. For example, you may be referred to a counselor.

An Overview of Potential Causes of Stress Following Liver Donation Surgery

Because liver donation is a major surgery, this can be a time of emotional stress for you and your family. Some people who donate part of their liver feel stress because of problems during their recovery or from the pain they feel after the surgery. In one research study, about half of all liver donors said they felt more pain after the surgery than they expected. On the other hand, 4 out of 10 said they felt less pain than expected.
Other liver donors feel stress because they take time off work to recover and aren't earning the money they need. Some people are unhappy with the way their surgical scar makes them look. Sometimes, the person receiving the new liver has a lot of complications or passes away shortly after the surgery. This can lead to feelings of sadness and guilt.
Some liver donors get frustrated because they have difficulty sleeping after the surgery. Others feel that the recovery process is going too slow, and they have a hard time not getting around as well as they used to. Some people also feel frustrated because, for a time, they aren't able to participate in the activities they enjoy.
The point is that there are many potential causes of stress following liver donation surgery -- for you, your family, and your friends -- both before and after this surgery. If you are feeling a lot of stress during your recovery, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider. He or she can give you suggestions for dealing with it.
This may include things like:
  • Low-intensity exercises, such as walking or swimming
  • Gentle stretching or yoga
  • Meditation
  • Massage
  • Speaking with a counselor.
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