Digestive & Liver Diseases (Gastroenterology)
Taking proper precautions and following instructions from Montefiore Medical Center's physicians after any type of liver treatment is essential for avoiding further injury and maintaining health. The information below describes follow-up care for patients who've received a number of common liver treatments.
After a Liver Biopsy
During a liver biopsy, a doctor removes a small piece of tissue from the liver to examine for signs of disease. After the procedure, you should rest for two days, getting up only to use the bathroom. Be sure to keep the bandage covering the biopsy site in place for at least two days.
Avoid showering for at least 24 hours after the biopsy. When you do shower, don't scrub the site but instead gently wash and pat dry the area. Don't lift anything heavier than 10 pounds the first several days after the procedure, and ask your doctor when you can safely return to work.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your doctor. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following: bleeding, redness, tenderness, drainage, swelling or opening at the biopsy site, dizziness or lightheadedness, sudden or increased shortness of breath, sudden chest pain, fever above 100.4°F, or shaking chills.
Discharge Instructions for Cirrhosis of the Liver
Cirrhosis of the liver is a chronic problem that occurs when liver tissue is destroyed and is replaced by scar tissue.
Dietary changes are also an important part of follow-up care at home. Cut back on salt—do not add it to any of your meals. Instead, try seasoning food with fresh herbs. Avoid or limit canned, processed and fast foods.
Take your medications exactly as directed, and talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements. Vitamins A, K, D and thiamine can be helpful in treating cirrhosis. Avoid aspirin and other blood-thinning medications unless your doctor prescribes them.
Care After a Liver Transplant
Our liver transplant patients can get follow-up care for life. After surgery, they have access to a multidisciplinary team of medical and surgical specialists, nurse coordinators and psychosocial professionals. In many cases, patients are able to return to their community physicians for care within a few months of surgery.
All patients receiving transplants need medications to prevent the immune system from rejecting the transplant as well as other medications to prevent infection. At discharge from the hospital, most patients receive seven to eight medications that they take two or three times daily. Our doctors carefully regulate and adjust the quantity and dosage of medication. After six months to a year, our doctors may reduce or eliminate many of these medications, so that patients often are down to just one or two medications a year after receiving their transplant.
Montefiore's liver transplant success rate is greater than 90 percent. Most patients experience minor side effects or more serious complications before or after transplantation. For patients requiring a transplant because of hepatitis C or liver cancer, the disease can recur after liver transplantation. The Liver Transplant team will talk to you about the risk of recurrence and possible treatment options.