Frequently Asked Questions on Liver Transplant Surgery and Procedure

Liver Transplant FAQ

Question 1 — What is Liver Transplantation?


A liver transplant is a surgical procedure performed to replace a diseased or non-functional liver with a healthy liver of the donor. The donor for liver transplantation surgery can be living or a cadaveric.

Question 2 — What is living donor for hepatic transplantation?


Liver transplantation can be the placement of whole or sometimes, ‘portion’ of a healthy liver of the donor instead of the diseased liver of the patient. The requirement of the ‘portion’ of the healthy liver can be fulfilled by extracting the same amount of liver from the living donor. This kind of transplantation of the ‘portion’ of the liver is possible because of the unique regenerative capacity of the liver. After the transplantation procedure, the fractional liver of both recipient and donor will regrow and remodel to form complete organs.

Interesting fact

Twenty-five percent of the original liver mass can regrow back to its full size.

Question 3- What are the advantages of the living donor liver transplantation?


Two significant advantages of living donor liver transplantation:

a) Improved survival rate

b) The wait for transplantation can be reduced.

Question 4- Who all can be a living donor?

Answer- Listed below is a list of general criterion for liver donation:

a) The donor should be healthy.

b) The donor should have a blood type compatible with the donor.

c) The donor should be between the age group of 20–60.

Question 5- What are the significant risks of donating liver?


Risks to the donor include:

§ Bleeding

§ Infection

§ Bile leakage

§ Possible death

The occurrence rate of mentioned risk is very low. Further, healthcare professionals will inform the donor in advance about uncertain risks.

Question 6- What are the other names for liver transplantation?


Liver Transplantation is also known as Hepatic Transplantation.

Question 7- What are the most common reasons for liver transplantation in adults?


For any liver disease severe enough to require hepatic transplant can come from many causes. The most common reason for liver transplantation in adults is Cirrhosis. A condition where the liver becomes progressively worse due to chronic injury. Here, scar tissue substitutes healthy liver tissue resulting in the partial blockage of the flow of blood through the liver. Viruses can cause Cirrhosis, for example, hepatitis B and C, alcohol, autoimmune liver diseases, accumulation of fat in the liver, or hereditary liver diseases.

Question 8- What are the most common reasons for liver transplantation in children?


Biliary atresia is the most common reason for liver transplantation in children. It is a sporadic condition in new-born infants in which the conjoining bile ducts, tubes that carry bile out of the liver, are missing or impaired and blocked bile ducts, cause cirrhosis. Bile helps in the process of digestion. If the condition is unrecognised, it leads to liver failure. The only valid treatment is certain surgeries or hepatic transplantation.

Question 9- What are the other reasons for Liver Transplantation in people?


Other reasons for liver transplantation in people are as follows-

a) Liver Cancer

b) Liver Tumours

c) Hereditary Diseases

Another essential point to be taken into consideration is that primary liver cancer develops at a significantly higher rate in cirrhotic livers when compared to standard livers, predominantly in patients suffering from liver disease secondary to Hepatitis B. Early detection may result in long-term survival of the patients. Liver cancer that has spread to the liver from some other part of the body is not curable with liver transplantation.

Question 10- How does the Hepatologist determine individuals as a suitable candidate for liver transplantation?


Analyses and evaluation by the specialists from a variety of fields are required to determine if a liver transplant is an appropriate treatment option.

Ways of evaluation-

§ Review and examination of the medical history and variety of tests, blood tests, X-rays, and other tests, to get well-grounded reasons before opting for transplant in an individual suffering from the end-stage hepatic disease.

§ Medical evaluation of other aspects of your health; like your lungs, heart, kidneys, immune system and mental health is performed. It is performed to ensure that an individual is healthy enough for surgery.

Question 11- Is Liver Transplantation a cure for “all” the individuals suffering from the end-stage hepatic disease?


Listed below are a few conditions for which liver transplant cannot be performed:

a) Cancer in the liver spread from other parts of the body.

b) Severe lung, heart or nerve disease.

c) Alcohol or drug abuse.

d) Severe infections

Your hepatic specialist will guide you best and the safest treatment option.

Question 12- What is the set-up of decision making for the liver transplant?


The decision should be in unanimity by all the individuals including patient’s family. Benefits and risks are discussed to conclude whether the liver transplant is the only solution to cure the hepatic disease of the patient.

Question 13- How alcohol consumption is among the leading causes for the requirement of liver transplantation in adults?


§ People suffering from Cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol abuse might need a liver transplant.

§ Liver transplantation is not the only cure, in many cases abstinence from alcohol and hepatic treatment options significantly improve the condition of the patient suffering from a severe hepatic disease.