Surgery Day (First Day in the Hospital)
The day of your donation surgery you will be asked to check into the hospital, usually in the early morning.
When you arrive at the hospital, you will be admitted into the hospital and taken to the pre-operation area. Once you are comfortable, the doctors and nurses will conduct a final examination. You can expect to have blood drawn and an IV placed in your arm. These final health checks help our transplant staff to know that you are in excellent health for donation. You will meet your surgeon prior to transfer to the operating room. This is also a good time for you to ask any last minute questions and to openly talk about any concerns you may have before surgery.
The donation surgery usually takes four to six hours and is done under general anesthesia. About 55 to 70 percent of your liver will be removed for donation. Your remaining liver will enlarge enough to meet your body’s needs and will grow back (regenerate) to 85 to 90 percent of its original size within two months after surgery. Your gallbladder will also be removed during the surgery.
At the same time your surgeon is removing a portion of your liver, your recipient’s surgeon will be removing their liver. Then a piece of your liver will be surgically implanted into your recipient.
After surgery you will be taken to the surgical recovery room where you can expect to stay for one to two hours. When you wake up, you will have a large incision, approximately eight inches, on your abdomen. To help manage your pain, you will have a self-controlled pain pump.
After your time in the recovery room, you will be taken to the surgical intensive care unit to be monitored closely to ensure you are recovering well, have limited nausea, are able to eat, use the bathroom and pass gas, and are free from infection. Ask us for help when you want to get out of bed, as the surgery and medicines you are given can make you feel less than steady on your feet.