Procedure for Liver Transplant

General Surgery

Liver Transplant

Liver transplantation surgery is conducted to replace a damaged/diseased liver with healthy liver either completely or partially.

Indications of Liver Transplant

Liver transplant is commonly indicated in liver failure. When the normal functions of the liver are badly affected it eventually leads to high liver enzymes and eventually a liver failure is caused by some of the following conditions:

  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Fatty liver
  • Alcoholism
  • Wilson's disease (a genetic disorder involving an abnormal copper deposition)
  • Liver cancer

Some important frequently asked questions may clear one’s doubts on the liver transplant procedure.

Q. What are the Advantages of a Living Donor Liver Transplant?

A. In a living donor liver transplant, there is no stress of the waiting list which usually is the case with the deceased donor. Remember the timely treatment of transplant the increased success rate of the procedure.

Q. Who is a Living Donor?

A. A living donor is:

  • Parent
  • Sibling
  • Adult child of the patient
  • In case the donor is not related, a donor with the same blood type is a good match.
  • Age for a potential and healthy donor is 18 to 60 years
  • Absence of conditions like:
    • Liver disease
    • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease

Q. What is MELD Score and What is its Significance in Liver Transplant?

A. MELD in MELD Score stands for Model of End stage Liver Disease. This score is used to determine the severity of the liver condition and survival rate of a potential recipient of liver transplant.

Q. How is a Liver Transplant Done?

A. The patient and the donor are kept in operating rooms that are close to each other.

An incision is made for removing liver (either completely or partially) and donors transplanted in the recipient.

The blood vessels are attached.

The incision is then closed.

This surgery usually requires 4 - 8 hours.

The patients are shifted to the recovery room.

Q. How Long is the Hospitalization in a Liver Transplant?

A. An inpatient hospitalization is required for atleast a week or longer depending on the patient’s condition and recovery.

Q. How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Liver Transplant?

A. It approximately requires 6 to 8 weeks for a liver transplant recovery.

Q. What is the Protocol for the Post-op Care in a Liver Transplant?

A. Following are some important post-op care instructions in a liver transplant:

  • For the 1st couple of months, one should not lift any weights

  • Avoid alcohol for atleast 6 months post the surgery

  • Go regularly for the follow-ups after the transplant

  • In case if a patient experiences any pain, they should seek immediate medical help.

  • Need to follow the doctor’s instructions and take medications on time.

Q. How Long Does it Take for the Liver to Re-grow to its Normal Size?

A. It takes atleast a couple of months for the liver to grow back to its normal size.

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