There are three different types of liver transplant that may be offered to a person:
. Deceased-donor liver transplant – involves transplanting a liver that has been removed from a person who died recently. Surgery can take up to 12 hours, depending on your situation.
The whole liver is taken from a recently deceased donor. This is usually from a donor who has pledged his or her organs for donation prior to death and has not transmissible illness or cancers that may be transmitted to the recipient.
For the surgery the surgeon makes an incision over the abdomen and removes the diseased liver. The donor liver will then be put in position and all the blood vessels and bile ducts would be connected. The incision is then closed with dissolvable stitches or surgical staples.
Drainage tubes are attached to drain away extra fluids. These are left for several days after surgery. Patient is then shifted to the intensive care unit for recovery.
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. Living-donor liver transplant – Living donor transplant means the donor is a willing living person. The donor has the operation first in which the surgeon removes either the left or right side (lobe) of their liver.
Right lobe transplants are usually recommended for adults while left lobes are used in children. This is because the right lobe is bigger and better suited for adults, while the left lobe is smaller and better suited for children.
The recipient is then opened up and the diseased liver is removed. Then the part of the liver taken from the donor is replaced making the connections with blood vessels and bile ducts.
Following transplantation, the transplanted lobe will quickly regenerate itself. Even for the donor the removed portion of the liver grows back. In the recipient the new lobe usually grows to 85% of the original liver size within a week.
. Split donation – Split donation involves transplantation of a liver from a recently deceased individual to two recipients. This is possible if the next suitable recipients are an adult and a child. The donated liver will be split into the left and right lobes. The adult normally receives the larger right lobe and the child will receive the smaller left lobe.
As with living donor transplants, the transplanted portions of the liver grow back to the original size by regeneration. This method benefits two persons at a time.
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