Common Specialities
Common Issues
Common Treatments


Change Language

Liver Replacement: Procedure, Recovery, Cost, Risk & Complication

What is Liver Transplant? Indication What Procedure is followed : Risk & Complication More Info

What is Liver Transplant?

A liver transplant refers to a surgical procedure that involves removing a liver that does not function properly, and replace it with a healthy liver, taken from a living or deceased donor.

The liver, being your largest internal organ, performs several crucial functions such as removing the bacteria and toxins from your blood, processing the nutrients and hormones as well as producing bile, so that the body can absorb fats and cholesterol. Liver transplant is generally kept as a treatment option for patients having significant complications because of an end-stage chronic liver disease, liver cancer or problems that cannot be treated with medications.


A patient may need a liver transplant in the following conditions:

  • Cirrhosis, a condition where the scar tissues replaces your normal liver tissues, impairing the function of the liver
  • Alcoholic liver disease resulting in liver failure
  • Genetic diseases that may affect the liver such as Wilson’s disease (copper poisoning) and hemocromatosis (excess iron in the body)
  • Diseases that can affect your bile duct, like biliary atresia (liver disease occurring in infants)
  • Treating cancers originating in the liver

What Procedure is followed :

Pre Procedure

The following pre-procedure guidelines need to be followed before undergoing a liver transplant:

  • You have to meet the eligibility criteria for undergoing the transplant. Your overall health condition, your current condition and whether your body will be able to tolerate the life-long medications after the surgery will be evaluated.
  • Finding a donor would be the next important step. In case there is no donor found immediately, you will have to wait till you get a matching donor.
  • Laboratory tests, imaging tests like an ultrasound of the liver, and a general health examination will be conducted
  • A psychological evaluation is also done for assessing your mental condition, looking for signs like anxiety and depression
  • While you are waiting for the transplantation, make sure that you stay healthy with proper diet, exercise and relax your mind

During Procedure

A liver transplant is done by administering general anaesthesia. The surgeon will make a long incision across the abdomen, to get access to your liver. The bile ducts and the blood supply to the liver are then disconnected, after which the diseased liver will be removed. The donor liver will be then placed in your system. The bile ducts and the blood vessels will be then reattached. The surgery can take up to 12 hours, though it depends on your health situation.

Once the new liver is put into place, the surgeon stitches and then staples the incision that was made. There will be drainage tubes attached for draining away the extra fluids, which may remain attached for some days after the surgery.

Post Procedure

Once the surgery has been performed, you will have to stay in the ICU for a few days. The doctors will monitor your health condition, looking for any possible complications. If required, a ventilator can assist you with the breathing, while a tube will be inserted through your nose in the stomach for providing you with the necessary nutrients and fluid. These things are generally removed after a few days.

Your liver function will be tested at regular intervals to analyse if the new liver is working properly or not. You will have to stay in the hospital for around 2 weeks. Once you are discharged, there will be frequent check-ups and blood tests that you have to undergo so that the doctors can understand the rate of your progress.

Risk & Complication

A liver transplant surgery carries with it some significant complications. It may be related to the surgery itself or to the medications that are required so that the body does not reject the new liver. The common risks include:

  • Bleeding or infection in the site of surgery
  • Formation of blood clots
  • If the donated liver fails to perform properly
  • If the body rejects the newly acquired liver
  • Seizures or mental confusion
  • The medications that you need to take post-surgery for the rest of your life may lead to bone thinning, diarrhea, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They may also increase your risk of getting an infection.
  • A long-term complication may include recurrence of a liver disease in the transplanted liver

More Info

You will have to take life-long medications after the liver transplant, which will prevent your immune system from attacking the donated liver. Make sure that you have them timely and regularly. It may take you 6 months or more to recover from the surgery. It is advisable to opt for simple exercises like walking in this recuperating period. A normal and healthy diet is also important. Also, always try to maintain a healthy weight. You can consult your dietician for a food chart. Avoid alcohol, especially if your previous liver disease was alcohol-related. Do not self-drive for at least 2 months after the surgery, as the transplant procedure and the medication that you take afterwards may sometimes affect the vision and reaction time.

The cost of a liver transplant could be approximately Rs. 5,00,000 – Rs. 10,00,000.

Popular Questions & Answers

Please suggest. We need liver. Searching liver doctor. If there any one Please contact.

General Physician, Mumbai
You will have to register your self with a nearby tertiary government center and which will give notifications
1 person found this helpful

Popular Health Tips

Liver Transplant - Common FAQs You Need To Be Aware Of!

M. Ch.(HPB Surgery & Liver Transplant), FEBS, MBBS, MS - General Surgery
Liver Transplant Surgeon, Mumbai
Liver Transplant - Common FAQs You Need To Be Aware Of!
While undergoing a liver transplantation surgery, there are multiple questions that can come to your mind. It is surely a life-changing step to decide whether one should undergo liver transplantation surgery. Some of the frequently asked questions...
993 people found this helpful

Know How To Choose A Liver Donor For Liver Transplant!

MBBS, MS - General Surgery, Fellowship - American Society of Transplant surgeons
General Surgeon, Bangalore
Know How To Choose A Liver Donor For Liver Transplant!
The liver can be transplanted either from the living-donor or from the deceased donor. Liver transplant surgery includes the transplantation of a part of the liver from the donor to the donee who has a damaged liver and does not function well. Liv...
1452 people found this helpful

10 Important Facts About Paediatric Liver Transplants!

MBBS, MS - General Surgery, FRCS (edinburgh), MD - R & D, FRCS Intercollegiate
Liver Transplant Surgeon, Bangalore
10 Important Facts About Paediatric Liver Transplants!
Being told that your child needs a liver transplant may be scary but the truth is that this surgery has a very high success rate. Most children who have had a liver transplant lead long, healthy lives. Here are 10 facts you should know about pedia...
3668 people found this helpful

Liver Rejection - Know The Common Signs & Symptoms Of It!

MBBS, MS - General Surgery, FRCS (edinburgh), MD - R & D, FRCS Intercollegiate
Liver Transplant Surgeon, Bangalore
Liver Rejection - Know The Common Signs & Symptoms Of It!
A person with liver cancer or failed liver is required to undergo a liver transplantation, where the old liver will be replaced by a new liver. A liver transplant rejection, which is also called organ rejection, is faced by people who have recentl...
3453 people found this helpful

Liver Transplant - Understand The Procedure Involved!

M. Ch.(HPB Surgery & Liver Transplant), FEBS, MBBS, MS - General Surgery
Liver Transplant Surgeon, Mumbai
Liver Transplant - Understand The Procedure Involved!
If you are a patient suffering from any chronic liver disorder or disease which could not be treated with the help of medicines and other treatment options available in the medicinal branch, then liver transplantation is recommended. So, if your m...
2002 people found this helpful
Play video
Know More About Liver Transplantation
Hello everyone. I am Dr Manoj Gupta. I am a consultant Liver transplant surgeon and a Gastroenterologist. Today I am here to discuss things about Liver Transplantation. What is Liver Transplantation? Liver transplantation is an operation in which ...
Play video
Know More About Healthy Liver
Hello everyone. I am Dr Manoj Gupta, I am a consultant Liver transplant surgeon and surgical gastroenterology in New Delhi. Today I will provide you tips to keep your liver healthy. Good health is the best wealth. To safeguard the best wealth, you...
Play video
Liver Cirrhosis
Hi, I am Dr. Praveen Sharma, Gastroenterologist. Aaj hum baat karenge liver cirrhosis ke baare mein. Ye liver ki ek serious bimari hai. Ismein liver ka size chota ho jaata hai and liver kam karna band kar deta hai. Iske 4 mukhaye karan hote hain. ...
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice