A liver transplant is a surgical operation that involves removing a liver that no longer functions properly (liver failure) and replacing it with a part of healthy liver from a living or deceased donor. Liver transplant is usually recommended for people who have significant complications of final stage chronic liver disease.
Deciding about the Transplant
Waiting for a liver transplant is a long process, but the surgery coordination happens quickly once you have a match. The liver can come from a deceased donor who had a healthy liver. Sometimes a donated liver may be used for two recipients. The right side of the donated organ is more often used in adult recipients, while the smaller left side is more often used for children.
The transplant will be done after your assessment by the surgeon. Usually, the patient is listed on the waiting list and once the donor is available you would be called anytime for the surgery. The waiting list depends on various factors and is not in the hand of doctor or anyone. Around half the people accepted onto the liver transplant waiting list receive a transplant within 3 years.
Duration of Stay
22 days in the hospital, 40 days outside
Getting the transplant is just a part of the process of getting a new liver. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a three-week hospital stay is common after a transplant. During this time, your doctor will evaluate the success of your operation, as well as determine your needs for homecare.
It may take up to one year until you feel healthier. Let your doctor know what your mental health and emotional health needs are before you’re discharged.
Liver transplantation is done when the liver of a healthy individual begins to fail. There are several reasons for liver failure:
A liver transplant is a complex procedure . In case of living donor liver transplant, the donor is required to meet certain criteria:
The patient and donor will have to undergo some tests before the operation. The entire process of evaluation takes around 1 week prior to the operation. The tests that are done are:
During the operation the transplant surgeon makes an abdominal incision to access your liver. The location and size of your incision depends on surgeon's approach and the patient's anatomy. The surgeon disconnects the recipient liver blood supply and the bile ducts, and then removes the diseased liver. The donor liver is then placed in the patient's body, the blood vessels and bile ducts are reattached. The duration for a surgery can take up to 12 hours, depending on the complexity of the case. In a normal adult , 30 to 70% of the liver (the right lobe) is removed from a healthy living donor. The donor's liver will regenerate completely with restoration of 100% function within 4–8 weeks. It is possible to remove up to 70% of the liver from a healthy living donor without harm in most cases. The process of regeneration for the recipient will be longer than that of the donor, sometimes taking upto 3-6 months.
Similar to most transplants, a liver transplant will be rejected by the recipient unless immunosuppressive drugs are used, which will be prescribed by the physician in charge. Post operation it is important to incorporate light exercises like walking or beginner yoga. The healthcare team who will recommend based on condition of the patient the safety measures to follow during the time of recovery. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a three-week hospital stay is common after a transplant. During this time, the doctor will evaluate the success of the operation, as well as determine the patient's needs for homecare.
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Who can be the donor for transplantation?
As per Indian laws, the donor for a liver surgery have to be a willing family member who is physically and medically fit for surgery.
What does a pre transplant evaluation process consists of?
This consist of checking all the body systems with regards to optimal function and presence of unexpected disease. The patient’s immunization records will be reviewed. Following transplantation, some vaccines cannot be given and others may not be as effective. A detailed nutritional assessment will also be performed.
What is the average hospital stay for a donor?
Most donors are hospitalized for 7-10 days after surgery. The incision staples are usually removed about 7-10 days postoperatively.
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