Getting back to activities after a transplant

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

Key points

  • If you were working before the transplant you can usually go back to work 10-12 weeks after the operation. For manual occupations it may take longer.
  • You can normally drive after 6-8 weeks
  • Most patients can travel abroad after 12 months
  • You’re encouraged to do moderate exercise at home and to continue this with a gradual increase over the following weeks

The road back to normality

In the first few months after a successful pancreas transplant, you will be recovering from surgery and getting used to your new medications. Your physical strength will gradually recover and you will be attending the post-transplant clinic frequently. After 3-6 months you will be coming to clinic less often. Patients who do well after a pancreas transplant may eventually only come to clinic every 3 or 4 months.

When can you…

Drive again

You can normally drive again around 6-8 weeks after a pancreas transplant. It’s important not to start driving too soon as you could risk damaging your surgical wound. In most patients there is no restriction on driving a car, van or motorbike, however special tests are required if you want an HGV license.

Go back to work

Most people are able to go back to work 10-12 weeks after a pancreas transplant. But this depends on your recovery and the type of work you do. Some jobs, for example heavy manual work, might require more recovery time. Everyone is different. Please ask your transplant team for more information.

Play sports and other activities

Patients who have a pancreas transplant report increased energy and the ability to exercise freely. If your recovery is going well, you will usually be encouraged to start walking more. Most sports and activities are possible but you should avoid heavy contact sports (rugby, martial arts, boxing) as these risk damaging your tummy wounds.

Go on holiday

After the first year, travel to most parts of the world is possible. Overseas trips before this are not recommended. But you may be able to go on holiday in the UK during the first year if you can plan the trip 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. Live vaccines are not safe.

Have sex

It’s recommended you wait at least 3-4 weeks before you have sex to let the surgical wounds heal. Pregnancy is not recommended while you’re recovering. You may need to use contraception after your 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

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