A living liver donor transplant is a surgical procedure in which a living person donates a portion of their liver to another person. The liver has the unique ability to regenerate. So the portion of the donated liver will eventually grow back to its original size.
The donor's liver is surgically removed and transplanted into the recipient. The procedure is typically performed using open or laparoscopic surgery. Living liver donor transplants are usually performed when the recipient urgently needs a liver transplant, and no suitable deceased donor organs are available.
Alternate Name of Living Donor Liver Transplant
Living-donor liver regeneration
The upper right part of the abdomen
Living Donor Liver Transplant Procedure Type
Surgical, laparoscopic or robotic
Preparation for Living Donor Liver Transplant
Before your liver transplant surgery, you will go through a long list of preparatory steps.
Matching of living donors: A living liver donor is usually a parent or sibling, making it easy to proceed with the procedure. Matching of liver donors is based on age, blood type, organ size and other parameters that determine compatibility.
Complete health evaluation: To be considered as a recipient or donor for a liver transplant, both individuals must undergo a comprehensive health check-up, including a psychological evaluation, at a transplant centre.
Routine investigations: Blood and urine tests, x-rays, other imaging tests, and heart tracing are some tests performed before your liver transplant. Additional tests may be required if your doctor needs to evaluate your liver function more.
Selecting a living liver donor for transplant has many criteria, which may include the following:
The donor must be an adult between 21 and 55 to ensure efficient liver regeneration (which decreases with age).
To reduce surgical and liver function risk, the donor must have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or less.
The donor must not have any medical conditions.
Living Liver Donor Transplant Surgery Procedure
You must fast for at least 10 to 12 hours before your liver transplant procedure. During the procedure, the non-functioning liver of the recipient is removed and replaced with the donated liver portion. The blood vessels and bile ducts are connected to the transplanted liver. The transplanted liver in the recipient and the portion of the liver left behind in the donor regrow, reaching normal liver volume and function in a few months.
Follow Up After Living Donor Liver Transplant
The living donor liver transplant is a relatively delicate procedure that requires technical precision. The entire procedure takes around 8 to 10 hours to complete. After the procedure, the donor and recipient must stay in the hospital for at least four to five days recipient must stay for 10-15 days to allow doctors to monitor their health and liver functions. Within three to four weeks, both individuals can return to normal activities but must avoid strenuous work or exercise. For six to eight weeks for the incision to heal properly.
When a liver transplant is a success, it means that the recipient’s body has accepted the transplanted liver; it is functional and has successfully regenerated. The success rate of living liver donor transplants is around 90%, which is higher than the rate for overall liver transplants.
Follow your doctor and healthcare team’s instructions about follow-up visits, which will usually be in the first week after your discharge from the hospital. Remember to carry all your reports and a list of medications during every follow-up visit.
Recovery After Living Donor Liver Transplant Surgery
Though the living donor liver transplant is a major surgery, most liver donors do not experience any long-term or serious complications. The portion of the liver donated typically regenerates to the original size within few weeks.
The recovery phase may be a bit intense for the recipients as their body needs to adjust to the newly donated liver. Recovery after a living donor transplant procedure is usually long and depends upon your age, overall health and other medical conditions you have. Complete recovery can take around three to six months. During your recovery process:
You must stay hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids.
Eat a healthy, nutritious diet to prevent constipation and allow your incisions to heal.
Request a family member to assist you with strenuous household chores and child care.
Contact the transplant team in case of any problem.
Take regular medicine as advised by the LT Team.
Risks Factors of Living Donor Liver Transplant
The procedure carries some risks for both the donor and the recipient, but it can be a lifesaving treatment for people with liver failure or other serious liver conditions.
Since living donor liver transplantation is a surgical procedure performed under general anaesthesia, it comes with several risks, including:
Formation of blood clots
Damage to the nerves in the region
Hernia at the site of incision
Damage to nearby structures like the bile duct
Fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity
Failure or rejection of the transplant
Get Second Opinion
Get free second opinion from India’s leading specialists.