How many staples will I need and does it hurt having them taken out?
Not everyone will have staples. Some hospitals use dissolvable stitches which will disappear after over time. The number of staples you have will depend on the type and size of the incisions made and can be anywhere between twenty and fifty plus. They are usually removed after about 3 weeks (often over 2 days). Some staples may be uncomfortable when they are taken out, and others won’t, because some areas heal better than others.
Tips for that first poo!
Your bowels will probably be unsettled for a while after your transplant and you may not be able to eat solid food for the first few days. It can then take a few days before you pass your first stool, it can be normal to go seven days or so before this happens. As you can imagine, this can be very uncomfortable and you may be bloated and get some pain.
Tips from people who’ve had transplants:
- Relax – take a book in!
- Make sure there is no one else waiting for the toilet, so you can take your time
- Don’t force it - be patient and don’t panic if you can’t go
- If possible, walk around gently to get things moving
- You may be given laxatives or an enema to help you go
- If you do have laxatives or an enema, make sure you are close to a toilet, as when you need to go, you need to go!
- Don’t feel embarrassed if you have an accident and don’t make it to the toilet in time – remember the hospital staff are used to this.
When can I have my first shower post-transplant?
You should ask your doctors/nurses, because it varies from person to person, but you will usually have your first shower once the drains (for excess abdominal fluid) are taken out. This may be between five and 15 days after the transplant. Initially you may be less mobile and in a lot of discomfort, but the nurses can help you wash. Some people are given wipes and a bowl of water to wash with if they can’t yet shower.
How soon can I go home after my liver transplant?
You'll usually be able to go home within two weeks although this can differ from person to person. Sometimes you can go home in less than a week, whilst others may need to stay in hospital well beyond two weeks.