By Rajiv Lochan, Liver Transplant Surgery
Liver transplant surgery is not a very complex procedure, but the preparation for it is elaborate and time consuming. Aftercare is also crucial because surgery is not all that is required to ensure a healthy life for the patient. The donor too needs to follow a special recovery routine. Let’s find out what preoperative and postoperative procedures are to be followed for a liver transplant.
Preoperative Selection Procedure for Recipient:
A patient in need of a liver transplant is screened to determine necessity and chances of survival and recovery after surgery. The transplant selection committee verifies whether the patient needs the transplant and can survive the procedure.
- Only those whose liver cannot be repaired by any means qualify for a transplant. Advanced cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma are examples of diseases that make a person require a liver transplant.
- A patient should clear the pretransplant evaluation which determines the chances of success. Various scans are performed to determine the health condition of the patient.
The screening follows the waiting list. The MELD or PELD score is calculated according to the necessity of an immediate transplant. The average waiting period is 11 months.
When the time for surgery finally arrives, the patient is prepped with the following:
- Medication and diet rules to follow in order to remain in a healthy state so that the surgery is possible and successful.
- MRI and CT scan to check for blood clots, or any other complication.
- Blood tests to check for infection.
- Heart rate and blood pressure monitoring.
Apart from the anesthesia, blood pressure and heart rate monitoring, all the other preparations take place over the course of weeks.
After the surgery is successful, the patient needs to stay in the hospital for about 3 weeks, if there is no other complication involved. Complications include:
- Rejection of the organ.
- Relapse of the disease.
- Physiological complications due to medical conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
In order to minimize the risk of the above complications, the patient must abide by the following rules:
- A light and healthy diet with low in sugar, fat, spices, and oil content, but rich in proteins.
- 5-7 small portions of meals every day.
- No alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, or other drugs for at least 6 months.
- A large serving of particular vegetables and fruits as suggested by the dietician.
- Avoid food with immunosuppressants. Consult the dietician about the same.
- Drink enough water, about 3-5 liters a day depending on the body weight.
- Light exercise after two weeks of returning from the hospital.
- Regular administration of the correct doses of prescribed medicines for recovery.
This is all anybody needs to know about the preparation for liver transplant surgery and its aftercare.
Transplantation is one of the most critical surgeries in the medical science. Body takes time to adapt a new organ. This is why it is very important for a transplant recipient to follow all the precautions and post instructions given by the doctor. It is also advisable to consult a doctor or transplant team if a patient notices any symptoms of rejection. Following the medicines and instructions will help a patient to recover faster and reduce the chances of rejection.