Categories: Hepatology

How long will a liver transplant last?

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According to recent studies, the current necessity for liver transplantation in India is estimated to be around 20/million population (or 25,000 Liver Transplant per year). The current rate of liver transplant performed in India is around 1.2/million population. Around 1200 and 1400 liver transplants have been performed in India in the years 2013 and 2014, respectively. Filling this gap may require a lot of input but prognosis after a liver transplant does not.

What are the factors affecting prognosis post-liver transplant?

  1. Post-transplant medication – It is really important to take immunosuppressant medication on time so that your immune system does not act against transplanted liver. Regular visits to your hospital make you stick to your medication schedule.
  2. Lifestyle changes – Restricted fat intake for life is also really important for a transplant to result in a good outcome.
  3. No alcohol intake is also important for a decent prognosis.
  4. Infection post-transplant – Care needs to be taken to avoid all forms of infection by avoiding high gathering places, washing hands and all that it takes to stay infection-free.

What to expect after a liver transplant?

  • 7 to 10 days of hospital stay
  • At least 3 months of regular medications and follow up hospital visits
  • Return to normal personal and professional life within three to six months after a liver transplant
  • Then you will be able to play, socialize, travel and exercise as per your will

Are there chances of disease coming back after a liver transplant?

It depends on the underlying cause for which a liver transplant was performed. A few diseases like Hepatitis C may recur therefore close monitoring post-procedure is required.

Does the surgery hurt?

It is a major surgery so it will hurt a bit but not as much as other abdominal surgery. There can be back pain too post-surgery. But with proper pain medication and isometric back strengthening exercises, the chances are, you will win it over.

What about the cosmetic presentation?

There are two incisions, one under the ribs, and another under sternum. Both of which are too high to be visible on the waistline or abs.

What are the side effects of medicines after a transplant?

Possible side effects may include:

  1. High blood Pressure
  2. Mood swings
  3. Hair loss or abnormal hair growth
  4. High blood sugar
  5. Weak bones
  6. Weak muscles
  7. Kidney problems
  8. Nausea
  9. Vomiting
  10. Diarrhea
  11. Headaches

Most of the side effects are because of medications prescribed after a liver transplant and will subside once medications are reduced.

How about sexual life and family planning?

You can get back to your sexual life as soon as you are discharged. The lack of desire which usually exists pre-procedure tends to leave gradually and you gain your libido back. However, protection from sexually transmitted diseases must be practiced because of the medications you are taking.

For family planning:

  1. Females are advised to wait a year to conceive. With a little change in medication, you are good to go.
  2. Males are all set to be fathers post-hospital discharge.

Well, the above write up must have covered all your prognosis related questions. Various studies at numerous Indian setups have collected data for over 30 years after a liver transplant, 99% of those have had excellent prognosis and quality of life. I usually leave an article open-ended for the reader to decide, but here the story is self-conclusive. A liver transplant lasts forever and with little care from your side has exceptional outcomes.

Dr. Sanjay Goja, Program Director and Clinical Lead – Liver Transplant, HPB Surgery, and Robotic Liver Surgery – Liver Transplant & HPB Surgery | Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bommasandra & Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram

Narayana Health

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