ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

What is a liver transplant?

Liver Transplant

A liver transplant is the surgical replacement of a damaged or diseased liver with a donor liver. It is a treatment for end-stage liver disease and other severe liver conditions. Liver transplantation is a life-saving surgery used when all other medical and surgical options have failed. 

A liver transplant is a major surgery with significant risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all your treatment choices before having a liver transplant.

Types of liver transplant 

The types of liver transplant surgery include:

  • Living donor transplants use a portion of a live person’s liver to replace the damaged or diseased recipient’s liver. Living donor transplants work because the liver is capable of regeneration or growing to meet the body’s needs. Living donors are usually a family member or close friend of the recipient. 
  • Whole cadaver transplants use the entire liver from a deceased donor to replace the damaged or diseased recipient’s liver. 
  • Split cadaver transplants use part of a deceased donor’s liver to replace the damaged or diseased recipient’s liver. In a split cadaver transplant, the donor’s liver is divided into two parts that are transplanted into two recipients. The recipients are usually children or petite adults. 

Other procedures that may be performed 

Diseases that cause serious damage to the liver can also cause serious damage to other organs. These can include the kidney, lung and heart. For example, polycystic kidney disease (PKD) can damage both the liver and kidneys. Another organ may be transplanted during a kidney transplant in rare cases. Your doctor and transplant care team will determine if a combination transplant procedure is right for you.

Other transplant surgeries include:

  • Heart transplant replaces a diseased or damaged heart with a donor heart.
  • Kidney transplant replaces a diseased or damaged kidney with a donor kidney.
  • Lung transplant replaces a diseased or damaged lung with a donor lung. 
Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 13, 2013

© 2014 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

Getting a New Liver. American Society of Transplantation. http://www.a-s-t.org/files/pdf/patient_education/english/AST-EducBro-NewLiver-E.pdf. Accessed June 13, 2013.
Health After Transplantation. American Society of Transplantation. http://www.healthytransplant.com/health_maintenance/health_after_transplantation.aspx. Accessed June 13, 2013.
Live donor Liver Transplant. University of Southern California. http://www.surgery.usc.edu/hepatobiliary/livedonorlivertransplant.html. Accessed June 13, 2013.
Liver Transplant. American Liver Foundation. http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/transplant/. Accessed June 13, 2013.
Liver Transplant. The University of Chicago. http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/transplant/liver.html. Accessed June 13, 2013.
Liver Transplant Program. UC San Diego Health System. http://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/surgery/transplant/areas-expertise/liver-transplant-program/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed June 13, 2013.
Liver Transplantation. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/livertransplant/#9. Accessed June 13, 2013.
Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf. Accessed June 13, 2013.
What I Need to Know About Liver Transplantation. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/DDISEASES/pubs/livertransplant_ez/#7. Accessed June 13, 2013.

You Might Also Like

8 Smart Exercises for Knee Arthritis

It might surprise you, but exercise is one of the best ways to relieve the pain and stiffness of knee arthritis.

E-mail this page to your friends.