Living Donor Liver Transplant
A living-donor liver transplant is a surgical procedure in which a portion of the liver from a healthy living person is removed and implanted into someone’s belly whose liver is no longer working properly.
The donor’s remaining liver regrows and returns to its normal size, volume and capacity within a couple of months after the surgery. At the same time, the transplanted liver portion grows and restores normal liver function in the recipient.
Before the procedure
To be considered for a living-donor liver transplant, both the donor and recipient must undergo thorough health and psychological evaluation at a transplant center. Transplant team will discuss the potential benefits and risks of the procedure in detail.
For example, while the procedure often may be lifesaving for the recipient, donating a portion of a liver carries some risks for the donor which is between 0.1 to 0.3%.
Matching of living-donor livers with recipients is based on blood group type, organ quality and organ size.
During the procedure
On the day of the transplant, surgeons will remove a portion of the donor’s liver for transplant through an incision in the abdomen. The specific part of the liver donated depends on the size of the donor liver, recipient’s weight and the needs of the recipient.
Next, surgeons remove the diseased liver and place the donated liver portion in the recipient’s body and then connect the blood vessels and bile ducts to the new liver.
The transplanted liver in the recipient and the portion left behind in the donor regrow rapidly, reaching normal liver volume and function within a couple of months.
Living donor liver transplantation has some advantages over deceased-donor transplantation. First, there is an improved survival rate for the adult transplant recipients who received living-donor livers over deceased-donor livers. It reduces waiting list mortality as recipient doesn’t have to wait for long time. As living donor liver transplant is elective transplant, transplant team have enough time to assess quality of donor liver.