Liver Transplantation
Dr. Mayank Agarwal

Liver transplantation is a surgical procedure performed to remove a diseased or injured liver from one person and replace it with a whole or a portion of a healthy liver from another person, called the donor.

Since the liver is the only organ in the body able to regenerate, or grow back, a transplanted segment of a liver can grow to normal size within a few months. Often, transplanted livers are from people who were registered donors who passed away. Since the liver has such regenerative ability, however, it is possible for a living person to donate a portion of his or her liver to someone in need of a transplant.

What are the common conditions that cause someone to need a liver transplant?

Among adults in the India., the most common reason for a liver transplant caused by chronic hepatitis C, followed by liver cirrhosis caused by long-term alcohol abuse. Many other diseases cause liver cirrhosis, including the following:

  • Other forms of chronic hepatitis, including hepatitis B and autoimmune hepatitis.
  • NASH, or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a disease caused by a buildup of fat in the liver resulting in inflammation and damage to liver cells.
  • Some genetic conditions, including Wilson disease where dangerous levels of copper build up in the liver, and hemochromatosis where iron builds up in the liver.
  • Diseases of the bile ducts. Bile ducts are tubes that transport bile, a digestive liquid made in the liver, to the small intestine. These diseases include primary biliary cholangitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and biliary atresia. Biliary atresia, a disease of absent or malformed bile ducts usually identified shortly after birth, is the most common cause of liver failure and transplant in children.

Other reasons for liver transplantation include primary liver cancer, meaning cancers that originate in the liver, such as hepatocellular carcinoma.

Where do donated livers come from?

Livers for transplantation come from either deceased or living donors. In India most common is living donor liver transplant come from deceased donors, often victims of severe, accident-related head injury. Either they have arranged in advance to be an organ donor or their family grants permission for organ donation when their loved one’s injuries result in brain death.

A smaller number of transplants are performed using living donors, often relatives or friends of the recipient. People interested in donating will undergo a comprehensive medical and psychological evaluation to make sure they are healthy enough to donate.

What is a living donor liver transplantation?

During a living donor liver transplant, a portion of a healthy person’s liver (the donor) is removed and transplanted into another person (the recipient) to replace their unhealthy liver. Both the donor’s and recipient’s livers will regrow over the next few months. Receiving a living donor transplant reduces the amount of time a person needs to wait on the national transplant waiting list.


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