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Overview

Nutrition

During the stage of nutritional recovery, it goes without saying that good nutritional management is crucial. Before discharge dietitians give the patient a detailed instruction on calorie requirement and dietary therapy. It is strongly recommended that the patient eat the following healthy foods: fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk and dairy products, foods rich in calcium, meat, fish, poultry like chicken and duck meat, and other protein-rich foods.

Exercise

Exercise can make a great difference both in mental and physical health after transplant. It also serves a vital role against prednisolone which weakens muscles. However, frequent or intense exercise is not necessarily desirable. Please consult the Center to find out an appropriate amount of exercise.

Abnormal Signs

  • A tight feeling or pain in the chest or the neck
  • A severe fatigue after sufficient sleep
  • An unusual short breath
  • A mild headache or dizziness during or after workout
  • Continuously rapid or irregular heartbeats during or after workout

Sex Life

When the patient can enjoy a healthy sex life after transplant depends on how fast he or she recovers. Sometimes, certain drugs might cause changes in sexual functions. Some patients avoid sexual intercourses by themselves in fear of rejection reactions or infection. Please consult your doctor on your visit to the Center for professional advice.

Pregnancy

Most of female patients recover their normal menstrual cycle and ability to get pregnant within several months. Generally, it is recommended that the patient check if the condition is stable and plan pregnancy two years after surgery. If the patient has a plan for pregnancy, she needs to discuss it carefully with her doctor. For birth control, oral contraceptives might interact with immunosuppressants, and implants might cause infection. Therefore, condoms are highly recommended.

Skin and Hair

Unless the patient has severe acne or dry skin, there is no need for a special care. Generally, frequent showers are encouraged for good personal hygiene.

Acne

Cyclosporine makes the skin more oily and prednisolone may induce acne on the face, shoulders, and the back.
To treat it, cleanse affected spots three times a day with soft soap. It is important to wash all the soap away, and using acne drugs without doctors’ prescription is risky.

Dry Skin

Use mild soap and put on a lotion after bath.

Wound

For small wounds like scratches, daily cleansing with soap is enough. However, for large wounds, please make sure to consult your doctor for professional treatment. If there is any discoloration, rash, or blisters, please immediately report it to the Center.

Hair

Prednisolone induces changes in hair, which makes permed or dyed hair dry and easily breakable. Therefore, it is recommended that getting a perm or dying hair be avoided until the dose of prednisolone is adjusted under 10mg.

Increase in Body Hair

After transplant, it is common that the patient’s face or arms become hairy, but shaving should be avoided as it makes the hair grow darker and thicker. The amount of hairs naturally reduces later, so there is no need for a special attention.

Sunlight

The patient should avoid a direct exposure to sunlight because organ transplantation increases the risk of skin and lip cancer.
Specifically, avoid sunlight from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the ultraviolet light is the strongest. Use a parasol or a hat and wear long-sleeved tops and sunblock with an SPF over 15. Also, please note that sunblock is not waterproof and thus you need to put it on again after swimming.

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited. Alcohol is processed by the liver, which may harm the organ. Combination of alcohol and post-transplant medications such as cyclosporine, FK506, azathioprine, and Bactrim is even more dangerous.

Tobacco

Although it is not particularly more harmful to organ recipients, smoking is discouraged as it is widely considered unhealthy.

Driving

Driving is not allowed at least for 4 weeks after surgery. Please make sure to use a safety belt.

Prevention of Infection

The patient should wear a mask outside for the first three months. Even after that, it is better to avoid crowded places like theaters and subway stations. If impossible, please use a mask.

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Do not meet a person who has infection (e.g. cold, chickenpox, measles, or mumps).
  • If you need to treat your wound at home, wash your hands after that.
  • After blowing your nose or coughing, throw away used tissues in a trash can and wash your hands immediately.
  • Avoid touching something dirty for the first six months and later, use gloves.
  • Do not touch animals raised outside and do not clean after them or clean their cage, bed, or tank.

Vaccine

Live virus vaccines must be avoided. In other words, vaccination against polio, measles, mumps, and rubella must never be given, because it injects virus into an immunologically suppressed body and may trigger infection. When such vaccination is necessary to the patient or one of the family members, please consult the Center. Parents of a child recipient should clearly inform the school of the risk as infectious diseases may break out at school.

Travel

Whether it is at home or abroad, discuss your travel plan with your doctor in advance. Since there are seasonal or endemic infectious diseases, it is important to make a decision based on knowledge of the patient’s condition and the destination.

Oral Care

Use a soft toothbrush to protect your gum. Brush your teeth AND use mouth wash right after meal. If the patient uses a denture, make sure to clean it after meal. For the first one to two years, get a dental checkup every six months to prevent oral infection. If treatment is needed, please let your dentist know that you have received an organ graft and you are on immunosuppressants.