In the time leading up to your transplant, it's a good idea to become familiar with the process so you know what to expect before, during, and after surgery.
You may want to ask your transplant team where you need to go on the day of your surgery to be admitted to the transplant hospital. Also consider asking them what you will need to bring with you.
After you arrive at the hospital and are prepped for surgery, you will receive general anesthesia followed by intravenous medicines and fluids. Once you are asleep and all prep work is complete, the surgeon will likely begin the organ transplant.
After surgery, you will likely be taken directly to the intensive care unit where the staff will monitor you closely. As your condition begins to improve, you will probably be transferred to the transplant unit to recover.
A nurse will probably check your vital signs several times a day. Your doctor may also do daily tests and lab work to detect any signs of rejection or infection. Tests can also help determine if the dose of your medicine needs to be adjusted.
The length of time you will need to stay in the hospital varies by type of organ transplant, complications, and recovery. Consider asking your transplant team how long you can expect to be in the hospital.
After surgery, you will take anti-rejection medicines to prevent your body from rejecting your new organ. Even with the medicines, a rejection episode is possible. Ask your transplant team about the signs and symptoms of organ rejection and call them right away if you experience any of them.
It is also important to keep all of your scheduled appointments and have ordered lab work done, which can detect rejection.
The medicines you will take to prevent rejection work by slowing down your body's immune system response. While they help prevent organ rejection, they also lower your body's ability to fight infection.
To help lower the risk of infection, your doctor may want you to take an anti-infective drug. Some other things you can do to help prevent infection include washing your hands often, avoiding raw or partially cooked meat, seafood, or eggs, and avoiding crowds and people who are sick.
Infections can be serious and life-threatening if not treated. Contact your transplant team right away if you experience any signs of infection such as fever, flu-like symptoms, or pain or swelling at the transplant site.