How Long Does It Take for the Liver to Heal after Treatment?
The liver is an amazing organ that can regenerate healthy liver tissue. How long it takes for the liver to heal depends on the type of liver damage and if continual damaging effects are eliminated. For myself, a hepatitis C patient with a 20 year history of hepatitis C, I wondered if my liver would completely heal after being cured. I learned what would prevent my liver from healing, as well as help it.
Have you been diagnosed with cirrhosis?
The goal of hepatitis C treatment is to eliminate the hepatitis C virus and stop liver damage from occurring. The term “cure” refers to the elimination of the hep C virus. There is a difference, however, in the level of healing or liver regeneration.
What determines liver healing time?
Healing time depends on the level and type of liver damage. If someone’s liver has mild to moderate damage (fibrosis) and the hepatitis C virus is eliminated and no other liver damage effects are occurring, the liver can regenerate and heal within a few days up to 3-6 months, approximately.1-3
The liver cannot regenerate after severe scarring, such as cirrhosis, though new research is being done with medications to help improve liver function for those with cirrhosis. For those with liver transplants, liver regeneration time can range from several months to 6 months from a traditional liver transplant or living donor transplant (where the damaged portion of the liver is removed and replaced by a portion of a healthy liver).1-3
What prevents the liver from completely healing?
Continual alcohol consumption, intake of harmful liver-damaging drugs or medications, and/or exposure to toxins can prevent the liver from healing.
Are liver regeneration time and recovery time the same?
No. Liver cell regeneration and patient recovery are not the same. Depending on the type of liver damage, recovery from hepatitis C treatment and liver transplant recovery time will differ. Liver regeneration can be occurring, while the patient may experience low energy that will increase during recovery time.
Each person’s recovery timeline is different. For some patients, post-treatment recovery can take a few weeks up to 6 months, while for others, it may take shorter or longer before their energy and stamina return to normal. Consult with your liver specialist about your liver condition. Keep all follow-up appointments and tests to help you with a good recovery.1-3
What best describes you?