Your recovery in the hospital

After the transplant procedure you will be moved to the intensive care unit (ICU) or recovery room for several days, depending on the type of transplant you have had.

After you leave the ICU or recovery room, you may continue to stay in the hospital for a few days, or up to 2 weeks.

  • At first, you may have a tube to help you breathe
  • You may feel some pain, which can be managed with medicines
  • Induction therapies are typically given first. This term (induction therapies) refers to medicines that are used before, at the time of, or right after the transplant to help prevent rejection of your transplanted organ

Monitoring

Here are some vital signs that may be monitored by your transplant team in the hospital after your surgery. Ask your doctor if you have questions about what these mean and how they are monitored:

Your recovery at home

Transplant team advice Your transplant team members will explain what you and your caregivers should expect when you return home, what steps you’ll need to take to monitor your health, and how and when to take your medicines.
Follow-up visits Your team will schedule frequent follow-up visits with you at the transplant center to make sure your body is adjusting properly to your transplanted organ.

Immediately after transplant and beyond

It is important to watch for the possibility that your immune system may try to reject your transplanted organ.

Your body has a natural way of recognizing what should and should not be in your system. Using its defense system (the immune system), it protects itself from things it identifies to be foreign, such as harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause infections. Since your transplanted organ is not your own, your body will also recognize it as being foreign and activate your immune system. This may lead to your transplanted organ being rejected.

The first 3 months after transplant is when you are at highest risk

However, the risk never goes away completely.

You’ll need to visit your transplant team regularly for tests to see if your body is rejecting your transplanted organ. As time passes, you may have fewer of these visits. However, you will need to have visits more often if you show signs of rejection, infection, or other problems, or if a new medicine is prescribed for you.

Rejection overview in Continuing your journey section