The liver transplant journey doesn’t end after transplant – it actually begins!
To steward the gift of a donated liver well, it’s critical to maintain your health and do everything possible to ensure your liver continues to function.
Routine Check Ups
One way to live well after transplant is to keep up with your annual checkups with your primary care physician and any routine screenings, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate exams, DEXA scans and so on. Because of the effects of long-term immunosuppression, it is also recommended that you have an annual dermatology screening for skin cancer, and always use sunscreen with an SPF of 35+ for skin protection.
Because you are immunosuppressed after a transplant, you are at increased risk for developing various infections. Some infections can be prevented by vaccination and it is recommended you receive a flu shot every year and stay up to date on your other vaccines. People who have had a transplant are only permitted to receive inactivated or killed vaccines, and should avoid contact with anyone who receives a LIVE vaccine, which could put you at greater risk. In addition to vaccinations, here are some helpful hints to avoid infection:
- Avoid people with colds or contagious diseases
- Wear proper fitting shoes, do not cut callouses or corns yourself and avoid going barefoot
- Wash cuts with soap and water and apply antibiotic ointment
- Contact your primary care physician if your cut is from a metal object; you may need a tetanus shot
Alcohol and Drugs
Use of alcohol or drugs not prescribed by your physician can be harmful to your liver transplant and are not permitted. If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, your social worker can help arrange for counseling and other support services.
Due to the greater risk of infection involved with the use of needles, tattoos are not recommended after your transplant.
Remember, the Penn Liver Transplant Team is available to answer any questions you may have. Please contact your transplant coordinator for additional information.