Liver Transplant Patients in the Fort Myers Area Can Receive Comprehensive Care from TGH & Lee Health
A 2018 partnership between Tampa General Hospital and Lee Health that serves kidney patients has expanded to include liver transplant patients as well. Tampa General Hospital’s Advanced Organ Disease & Transplantation Institute at Lee Health offers liver transplant surgery at TGH’s world-class facilities in Tampa, but patients can receive thorough pre-transplant care prior to surgery from TGH physicians close to home in Southwest Florida. Following surgery, they can transition back to Fort Myers for follow-up care after a short recovery period in Tampa. This allows patients who would rather stay close to home to enjoy an incredible level of convenience while receiving care from TGH’s transplant physicians.
Understanding Liver Transplant Surgery
The liver is responsible for filtering the blood that comes from the digestive system, detoxifying chemicals and other substances at the same time. A liver transplant may be needed when the organ has been damaged and no longer functions properly. Advanced liver diseases, including liver cancer (such as hepatobiliary carcinoma), polycystic liver disease, hepatitis C, fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis, can lead to liver failure and the potential need for a transplant.
TGH is a recognized leader among solid organ transplant centers and has performed more than 10,000 organ transplants with shorter wait times and world-class outcomes. Our liver transplant program has flourished since it began in 1987, and we are proud to have performed thousands of liver transplants. On average, we’ve performed 97 liver transplants per year since 2007, which makes our program one of the nation’s top 10 liver transplant programs by annual volume. Our high volume of transplants, in addition to our survival rates – which typically exceed the national averages – are made possible by our multidisciplinary transplant care team. We are prepared to serve patients with any stage of a liver condition – even if transplant is not recommended – and provide personalized care.
Pre- & Post-Transplant Care
To determine if a liver transplant is the appropriate treatment, potential transplant patients receiving care from TGH’s Advanced Organ Disease & Transplantation Institute at Lee Health will be thoroughly evaluated by our physicians and transplant team members in Fort Myers. If transplant selection criteria and guidelines are met, patients will then undergo a variety of pre-transplant tests, including:
- Breathing tests
- Cardiac stress tests
- Blood tests
- Chest X-rays
- CT scans
- Cancer screenings
- A colonoscopy
- Esophagogastroduodenoscopies (EGDs)
- Mammogram/Pap test (female patients only)
After a patient has been deemed a suitable transplant candidate and the transplant surgery has been performed at TGH in Tampa, our physicians will oversee a recovery schedule designed to meet the patient’s unique needs. Liver transplant patients are asked to stay in the Tampa area for approximately six weeks following surgery, with Tampa General Hospital’s Transplant Houses as a possible temporary living option. Post-transplant care will continue once a patient has transitioned back to the Fort Myers area, unless a surgical issue requires a return to TGH. A typical recovery schedule includes:
- Twice-weekly visits for the first month after surgery
- Weekly/biweekly visits for the second month after surgery
- Monthly visits for the third month after surgery
- Follow-up visits in the third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth months after surgery
- Biannual/annual visits every subsequent year after surgery
If you would like additional information, contact the Tampa General Hospital Advanced Organ Disease & Transplantation Institute at Lee Health by calling (239) 224-3501 and asking for the referral coordinator.