Liver Transplant

A liver transplant is surgery to replace a diseased liver with a healthy liver from another person. A whole liver may be transplanted, or just part of one.

In most cases the healthy liver will come from an organ donor who has just died.

Sometimes a healthy living person will donate part of their liver. A living donor may be a family member. Or it may be someone who is not related to you but whose blood type is a good match.

People who donate part of their liver can have healthy lives with the liver that is left.

The liver is the only organ in the body that can replace lost or injured tissue (regenerate). The donor’s liver will soon grow back to normal size after surgery. The part that you receive as a new liver will also grow to normal size in a few weeks.

You can’t live without a working liver. If your liver stops working properly, you may need a transplant.

A liver transplant may be recommended if you have end-stage liver disease (chronic liver failure). This is a serious, life-threatening liver disease. It can be caused by several liver conditions.

Cirrhosis is a common cause of end-stage liver disease. It is a chronic liver disease. It happens when healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue. This stops the liver from working properly.

Liver transplant surgery requires a hospital stay. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your provider’s practices.

Generally, a liver transplant follows this process:

  • You will be asked to remove your clothing and given a gown to wear.
  • An IV (intravenous) line will be started in your arm or hand. Other tubes (catheters) will be put in your neck and wrist. Or they may be put under your collarbone or in the area between your belly and your thigh (the groin).These are used to check your heart and blood pressure, and to get blood samples.
  • You will be placed on your back on the operating table.
  • If there is too much hair at the surgical site, it may be clipped off.
  • A catheter will be put into your bladder to drain urine.
  • After you are sedated, the anesthesiologist will insert a tube into your lungs. This is so that your breathing can be helped with a machine (a ventilator). The anesthesiologist will keep checking your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood oxygen level during the surgery.
  • The skin over the surgical site will be cleaned with a sterile (antiseptic) solution.
  • The doctor will make a cut (incision) just under the ribs on both sides of your belly. The incision will extend straight up for a short distance over the breast bone.
  • The doctor will carefully separate the diseased liver from the nearby organs and structures.
  • The attached arteries and veins will be clamped to stop blood flow into the diseased liver.
  • Different surgery methods may be used to remove the diseased liver and implant the donor liver. The method used will depend on your specific case.
  • The diseased liver will be removed after it has been cut off from the blood vessels.
  • Your surgeon will check the donor liver before implanting it in your body.
  • The donor liver will be attached to your blood vessels. Blood flow to your new liver will be started. The surgeon will check for any bleeding where you have stitches.
  • The new liver will be attached to your bile ducts.
  • The incision will be closed with stitches or surgical staples.
  • A drain may be placed in the incision site to reduce swelling.
  • A sterile bandage or dressing will be applied.
  1.  

Latest News

Free Medical Evaluation