Intestine Transplant Process

As a Henry Ford transplant recipient, you recover in a specialized unit designed to protect your health. You then work with our entire team to make sure your transplant is a success.

Waiting for an intestine transplant

Your transplant coordinator places you on the national transplant waitlist as soon as you complete the screening process. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) manages this list and matches organ donors and recipients throughout the Midwest region and nationwide.

Your wait time for an intestine transplant may range from a matter of days to years. There are many factors that affect your wait, including your:

  • Health status
  • Blood type
  • Body size

Learn more about Henry Ford’s intestine transplant outcomes.

Getting an intestine transplant

Your transplant coordinator contacts you when a donor organ (or multiple organs if needed) becomes available. During the transplant process, you can expect that:

  • The amount of time for your operation largely depends on the intestine transplant type (intestine only or multiple organs).
  • After surgery, you recover in our specialized transplant recovery unit. This unit has specially filtered air to reduce your risk of infection.
  • Your hospital recovery time depends on the complexity of your surgery and your overall health.
  • You may need intravenous feedings called total parenteral nutrition (TPN) for a short period of time until your doctor clears you to try regular food.
  • You work with one of our transplant pharmacists and start taking transplant medications. Your medication will include immunosuppressants to prevent your body from rejecting the donor organs. Immunosuppressants are taken for life.
  • While recovering in the hospital, you begin a nutrition and disease management education program, as well as a rehabilitative exercise and strength training program. You should continue these programs when you return home.
  • After your hospital discharge, you need blood tests and follow-up exams. You may choose to get these checkups at one of our convenient intestine transplant clinics.

Resources for transplant patients and caregivers

If you or your loved ones need assistance with travel arrangements, lodging or other support, our caring staff at Guest Services can help. Learn more about these resources.

Take the next step

Speak with a Transplant specialist.


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