Incidence of abdominal wall numbness post-liver transplantation and its complications

Ashokkumar Jain, Pauline Nemitz, Rajeev Sharma, Baber Sheikh, Saman Safadjou, Marry Vetter, Leah Brayan, Pam Batzold, Randeep Kashyap, Mark Orloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Liver transplantation (LTx) is a life-saving procedure for end-stage liver disease. However, LTx remains a major surgical procedure with a significant amount of morbidity and mortality. Several different types of post-LTx complications have been studied and reported; however, the numbness of the abdominal skin between the subcostal incision and the umbilicus and its associated complications have not been studied in a large patient population. The aim of this study was to report the incidence of numbness in the abdominal skin post-LTx and its implications in routine life. One hundred and one post-LTx patients were questioned in the clinic about numbness. There were 52 male patients and 49 female patients with a mean age of 51.9 ± 11.3 years at the time of LTx, and the mean time from transplant was 35.0 ± 29.5 months (range, 3-113 months). The implications were recorded. All 101 patients (100%) had an area of numbness between the subcostal incision and the umbilicus. Four of these patients had an area of superficial-to-deep burns from hot food (accidentally dropped on the abdomen), heating pads, or a hot cup of tea. One patient had ecchymosis from blunt trauma during gardening. Out of 36 diabetic patients, more than 24 patients were insulin-dependent and used the area for subcutaneous insulin injections. In addition, some of the 43 hepatitis C virus-positive patients used the area for subcutaneous interferon therapy. In conclusion, 100% of the patients had persistent numbness up to 9 years following LTx. Five percent of the patients developed thermal injuries or blunt trauma complications that could have been prevented with better education and awareness. More then 24% of the patients used the area for subcutaneous injections of insulin and/or interferon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1488-1492
Number of pages5
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation


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