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Liver Transplant

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

Liver transplant is surgery to replace part or all of your liver with a healthy liver from another person.

Abdominal Organs


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • You have weakness in an arm or leg, or any part of your body.
  • You become confused, have difficulty speaking, or have a seizure.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You are urinating less than usual, or not at all.
  • You have black, tarry bowel movements, or you vomit blood.
  • You have new yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
  • Your abdomen becomes swollen.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss.

Call your liver doctor or transplant surgeon if:

  • Your wound areas are swollen, red, or have pus coming from them.
  • You feel weak or get tired easily.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have new headaches or shakiness.
  • You have pain or tenderness in your upper abdomen or in wound areas.
  • Your legs begin to swell.
  • Your skin is itchy or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Antirejection medicine helps prevent your body from rejecting your new liver. You may need to take this medicine for the rest of your life.
  • Steroid medicine decrease inflammation.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for your wound as directed:

Follow your surgeon's instructions about how to care for your wounds at home.

Go to physical therapy, if directed:

You may need to see a physical therapist to teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.


  • Rest as needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special or low-salt diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask how much you should weigh. Ask your healthcare provider to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
  • Exercise as directed. Ask about the best exercise plan for you. This may help increase your energy levels and help you feel better.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use tobacco products. Alcohol and tobacco can harm your new liver. Ask for information if you currently drink alcohol or use tobacco products and need help quitting.
  • Ask about vaccines. Ask if you need vaccinations to decrease your risk for the flu or pneumonia. Antirejection medicine may decrease your ability to fight an infection.

For support and more information:

  • American Liver Foundation
    39 Broadway Suite 2700
    New York , New York 10006
    Phone: 1- 212 - 668-1000
    Phone: 1- 800 - 465-4837
    Web Address:

Follow up with your liver doctor or transplant surgeon as directed:

You may need to return for tests and ongoing care. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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