Prepping for Donation and Surgery

Preparing for Surgery

Once the donor evaluation is complete, the UI Health Transplant Team will review the recommendations and test results. Once the donor has been approved, the transplant surgery can be scheduled to take place within one or two weeks.

About a week or two before the scheduled surgery, both the donor and the recipient will come to the transplant clinic for a preoperative visit. During this visit, the donor will have a history and physical exam performed by a surgeon, receive preoperative instructions, and have preoperative blood drawn. Consent for the donation surgery also will be obtained at this visit.

The night before the surgery, you’ll be instructed to not eat or drink after midnight. A nurse from the preoperative area also will contact you the evening before surgery to tell you what time to report to the hospital for your surgery.


Before and after liver donation, it is important to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to promote overall good health. To maintain a healthy diet, consume adequate amounts of the following:

  • Fruits, such as blueberries, apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, mangos
  • Vegetables, such as spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower
  • Whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat bread
  • Protein, such as chicken, turkey, fish, beans, nuts, peanut butter, Greek yogurt

Also, limit your salt and sodium intake. It also is important to maintain a healthy liver by maintaining or achieving a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can lead to fatty liver disease. During the evaluation process, a nutrition consultation with a dietitian will provide you with an individualized nutrition plan.


If the donor or recipient are traveling to UI Health, then we suggest they plan ahead. Sitting still for a long time right before donor surgery increases the risk of blood clots both during and after the surgery. Because of this, if the donor or recipient:

  • Travel by air before the donor surgery, they must complete their air travel at least two days before the surgery.
  • Are taking a long car trip to have the donor surgery, then they should stop often to walk and stretch their legs


If the donor and or recipient do not live near UI Health, we suggest that they stay in IMD Guest Housing before the surgery. The IMD Guest House is open to patients, families, and caregivers of all ages, receiving any type of treatment or surgery. The IMD Guest House helps ensure that the patients themselves have the support they need to heal more quickly and completely. Individuals interested in staying at the IMD Guest House can contact the Office of Hospitality & Concierge at UI Health, or contact the Guest House directly:

University of Illinois Hospital
Suite 1170
1740 W. Taylor St.
Chicago, IL 60612
866.600.CARE (Option 4)

IMD Guest House Foundation
Phone: 312.996.1167
Advance reservations are required