Getting back to activities after a transplant

Find out when you can work, drive, go on holiday and play sports after a liver transplant

Key points

  • You’re encouraged to do moderate exercise after 8 weeks
  • You can often drive after 12 weeks
  • You may be able to go back to work within 3-6 months
  • Most patients can travel abroad after 12 months

The road back to normality

Once the first few months after your operation have passed, it is likely that your liver function will be stable and you won’t need to come to the transplant clinic as often. After the first 6 months, the risk of transplant rejection is lower and your medicines will usually reduce.

When can you…

Play sports and other activities

If your recovery is going well, after 8 weeks, you will usually be encouraged to start moderate exercise. This could be walking, jogging, swimming or cycling. Most sports and activities are possible but you should avoid heavy contact sports (rugby, martial arts, boxing) as these risk damaging your liver transplant.

Drive again

You can often drive again around 12 weeks after a liver transplant. It’s important not to start driving too soon as you could risk damaging your surgical wound.

Go back to work

Most patients who need a liver transplant are not able to work. However, if you were working before the transplant, most people are able to go back to work within 3-6 months after a liver transplant. But this depends on your recovery and the type of work you do. Depending on your job, you may need to be seen and assessed by occupational health prior to returning to work. Please ask your transplant team for more information.

Go on holiday

You can usually go abroad around 6 months after your liver transplant. In general, overseas trips before this are not recommended. You may be able to go on holiday in the UK sooner than this if you can plan it around your clinic appointments.

Do you need vaccines for your holiday?

Please speak to your transplant team before you travel to find out which vaccines are safe for you.

Have sex

Your sex life and fertility are likely to improve after a liver transplant. However, it’s recommended you wait at least 6-8 weeks before you have sex to let the surgical wounds heal. You may need to use contraception after your liver transplant to avoid pregnancy. Please discuss safe methods of contraception with your transplant team.

Speak to your transplant team about what you can do

They will be able to advise when it’s safe for you to go back to work, travel, drive, and do other activities.

More information

You may also be interested in