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    Organ Transplant: At the Hospital

    The big day is here! You're headed to the hospital for your organ transplant surgery.

    Here's an idea of what you can expect. Keep in mind that these are only general facts. You're unique, so your experience will be, too.

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    The Transplant Surgery Team

    The team approach is standard. A host of people will be taking care of you.

    Of course, you'll have your transplant surgeon and transplant doctor. Other team members typically can include:

    • The transplant coordinator
    • An intensive care or critical care specialist
    • An infectious disease doctor
    • Nurses
    • A pharmacist
    • A dietitian
    • A physical therapist
    • An occupational therapist
    • A psychiatrist or psychologist
    • A social worker
    • A financial coordinator

    Smaller transplant centers may have fewer people.

    How Long Will It Take?

    It depends on what organ you're getting, along with many other things. For example, you may spend less time in the operating room if you've already had surgery on that organ or a previous transplant.

    Transplant surgery times differ a lot. A few examples include:

    • Liver, 5 to 8 hours
    • Kidney, 4 to 5 hours
    • Pancreas, 2 to 4 hours
    • Both kidney and pancreas, 5 to 7 hours

    Your surgeon can give you a better estimate, taking into account your specific circumstances.

    Your Recovery

    Again, it depends in part on what surgery you have, as well as the standard process your hospital follows. Right after the operation, you may go to an intensive care or critical care unit.

    You'll be able to see visitors as soon as your doctor decides you're well enough. That's often sooner than you might expect. If you're feeling good, it may even be the same day as your surgery.

    During recovery, the emphasis is on getting you up and active. You'll likely be sitting in a chair within a day or two.

    How long you can expect to stay in the hospital varies, too. Your care team will consider things like how sick you were when you went in and how well your surgery went.

    For kidney transplants, it's often 4 or 5 days; for kidney and pancreas, it may be 7 to 10 days. Liver transplants are also often 7 to 10 days.

    What's your main post-transplant concern?