Age Matters When Recovering from Liver Transplant

All children are different and it is difficult to predict precisely how their recoveries after a liver transplant will progress. However, some general age differences have been noted.

Young Children Recovering from Liver Transplant

Very young children tend to take significant strides toward developmental milestones one or two years into their recovery from a liver transplant. For example, they may begin attending preschool and kindergarten, learn to ride a bike and become involved in extracurricular activities, such as gymnastics classes and T-ball.

Older Children and Teenagers Recovering from Liver Transplant

Older children tend to become more depressed and have a more difficult time seeing past the first few weeks in the hospital. They are often concerned about their appearance, for example. “But once you get them through that, they improve in leaps and bounds,” says Ms. Park. The most significant concern among adolescents early on after transplant is the ileostomy, which may deter some teenagers from immediately returning to school, even though they are medically able to do so. The ileostomy is usually closed at four to six months after transplant and most teenagers are ready and eager to return to school at that time.