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Liver Transplant - Understand The Procedure Involved!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ankur Garg 88% (525 ratings)
M. Ch.(HPB Surgery & Liver Transplant), FEBS, MBBS, MS - General Surgery
Liver Transplant Surgeon, Mumbai  •  18 years experience
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 medical providers have suggested you to undergo liver transplant surgery, then there is a set of procedure which you need to follow:

  1. First, you have to approach a transplant centre as per our convenience; you are free to select a centre which is nearby your residential area or where your preferred medical practitioners are working. You should keep in mind certain points while selecting a transplant centre such as the previous history of transplantation surgeries performed, survival rates of the concerned patients, costs involved, supplemented services offered by the centre including support groups, other arrangements etc.
  2. Next step is evaluating whether you are an eligible candidate for liver transplantation. Each transplantation centre has a different criterion of eligibility that you must fulfil in order to undergo the surgical procedure. The purpose of this evaluation is to make sure whether you are a healthy individual and have tolerance for the after medications.
  3. The specific tests and procedures may involve laboratory testing such as blood tests and urine tests for the assessments of the health of the liver, performing ultrasounds, assuring the health of the cardiovascular system, cancer screening tests, any psychological disorders etc. Once these steps are completed, the medical doctor's panel decides whether undergoing liver transplantation is a better option for you or not.
  4. Once the doctors decide, then they put you on the waiting list and your score depends upon the prognosis, higher the score, more critical the situation is. After that, a doner is look forward to. Some people may find their donors within few days and it can even stretch up to months. Some surgeries are performed by transplanting a portion of liver obtained from a living donor. Usually, the living donor is a close acquaintance of the patient.
  5. During the procedure, there can be two types: in the case where there is an availability of deceased donor, the doctor may call you immediately and further testing is done if you are a healthy candidate for the procedure. Then the surgery is performed by providing local anaesthesia. The cut is made across your abdomen to make your liver accessible for the surgery. The cuts can vary in size and location as per the approach used by the surgeon and the anatomical structure of the patient. The unhealthy liver is removed after disconnecting the blood supply and bile ducts that go through the liver and donor’s liver is replaced in your body. Once this is done, the blood vessels and bile ducts are reconnected and the surgery may require up to 12 hours and can extend for more duration. The incisions or the cuts are then stitched.
  6. When the liver donor is a living candidate, then the liver is removed from the patient’s body and donated liver is put at the place. The liver of the donor regenerates in a short duration of time, in around several months.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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