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March, 2023

Liver Transplantation Simplified

Liver transplantation is recommended for people with end-stage liver disease or acute liver failure. End-stage liver disease is a condition in which the liver has become so severely damaged that it can no longer function properly. Acute liver failure, on the other hand, is a rapid deterioration of liver function that can occur over a short period of time.

Liver transplantation is a surgical procedure in which a diseased liver is replaced with a healthy liver from a donor. It is a life-saving surgery for people with end-stage liver disease or acute liver failure. If you experience any symptoms like jaundice, abdominal pain, and chronic fatigue, consult with a liver transplant surgeon in Bangalore to receive a proper diagnosis.

Why is Liver Transplantation Performed?

Liver transplantation is typically performed when a person's liver has become so severely damaged that it is no longer able to function properly. A failing liver also adversely affects other organs like the kidneys, heart, brain, and lungs. Liver failure can be caused by a number of conditions, including:
  • Chronic liver diseases, like cirrhosis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
  • Inherited metabolic disorders, such as Wilson's disease and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Autoimmune liver diseases, such as autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cholangitis
  • Liver cancer or liver tumors
  • Acute liver failure, which can be caused by drug toxicity, viral hepatitis
Liver transplantation may be the only option for survival and for attaining a good quality of life in such liver failure cases. It can help your health by reducing symptoms such as fatigue, jaundice, and abdominal swelling.

Types of Liver Transplants

There are two main types of liver transplants: deceased donor liver transplant and living donor liver transplant.

Deceased donor liver transplant: In this type of transplant, a healthy liver is removed from a deceased donor and transplanted into the recipient. Deceased donor livers are obtained from individuals who have died from brain death, but whose organs are still functioning. The liver is carefully removed and transported to the transplant center, where it is matched to a suitable recipient based on blood type and size. Such transplants are limited by the availability of brain
dead donors and the willingness of their families to donate the deceased person’s organs.

Living donor liver transplant: In this type of transplant, a portion of the liver is removed from a living donor, usually a family member or friend, and transplanted into the recipient. The remaining portion of the donor's liver as well as the transplanted half in the recipient will regenerate over a few weeks. This transplantation offers several advantages over deceased donor liver transplantation, including shorter waiting times, better outcomes, and the ability to perform the transplant before the recipient's condition becomes critical. However, it is a more complex procedure and requires a healthy volunteering donor to accept the risk of donor surgery.

Both types of liver transplantation have advantages and disadvantages, and the decision to choose one over the other will depend on several factors, such as the urgency of the transplant, the availability of a suitable donor, and the recipient's medical condition.

Liver Transplant Procedure

The liver transplant procedure typically takes several hours and is performed under general anesthesia. The recipient's diseased liver is removed and replaced with the healthy liver from the donor. The new liver is connected to the recipient's blood vessels and bile ducts, and the incision is closed.

Recovery and Follow-Up

After liver transplantation, the patient will need to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks to monitor for complications and ensure that the new liver is functioning properly. After discharge, the patient will need to take immunosuppressive medications for a long period of time to prevent rejection of the new liver.

Regular follow-up appointments will be necessary to monitor liver function, adjust medications, and check for signs of rejection or other complications. With proper care and monitoring, many people who undergo liver transplantation can enjoy a good quality of life for many years and lead a productive lifestyle.

Liver transplantation is a life-saving procedure for people with end-stage liver disease or acute liver failure. It can significantly improve the quality of life for those who undergo surgery. If you are experiencing any liver-related issues, it's important to speak with doctors at Sakra World Hospital, who specializes in liver transplantation in Bangalore to discuss if you need liver transplantation and determine the best course of treatment.



Dr Shruthi Reddy

Consultant HepatoBiliary-Pancreatic and Liver Transplant Surgeon

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