Liver transplant is a surgical procedure that involves the replacement of a diseased liver with a healthy one. Donated ones can be obtained from donors who have died recently and have not had organ injuries. These types of donors are called cadaver donors.

Alternately, donated livers can be obtained from healthy and willing persons. A healthy person can donate part of his / her liver. These types of donors are called living donors. The living donor's liver then grows again in time, with both the donor and recipient ending up with a working one after a successful transplant surgery.

  • Surgical procedure

Healthy livers should perform over 400 tasks daily, including making protein required for blood clotting; making bile that helps with digestion; storing fats, iron, sugars, vitamins and copper; and removing / changing medications, toxins & bacteria in the blood. A surgeon often removes a new one from the donor through surgical cuts in the upper part of the abdomen.

The donor liver is kept in a cooled saline (salt-water) solution that helps to preserve the organ for 8 hours. All the necessary tests are then performed to match donors with the recipients. The donation is then placed in the patient who requires the donation (ie the recipient). It is then attached to the bile ducts and blood vessels, with the operation taking about 12 hours. Recipients often require large amounts of blood through transfusion.

  • Reasons for liver transplant

Transplants are done for different ailments. Biliary atresia is a common reason the procedure is performed in children, while cirrhosis is a common a reason transplant is performed in adults. Cirrhosis involves the scarring of liver, which inhibits it from functioning right, leading to most organ failure.

Long-term alcohol abuse and long-term hepatitis B or C are the main causes of cirrhosis. Other conditions that can cause cirrhosis or liver failure include thrombosis (hepatic vein blood clot), medications or poisoning, autoimmune hepatitis, haemochromatosis, Wilson's disease which results from metabolic disorders of iron or copper and problems with the liver's binary tract.

  • Restrictions

This procedure is not recommended for people who have a history of cancer or patients with infections like osteomyelitis or tuberculosis. If you have a life-threatening disease, such as liver, lung, or heart disease, a transplant may not be recommended for you. Furthermore, people with various infections like hepatitis, or persons with risky lifestyle habits such as drug abuse, alcohol consumption, and smoking may not undergo a transplant.