A liver transplant, a life-saving procedure, involves surgically replacing a diseased liver with a healthy one from a deceased or living donor. It is typically performed in patients with end-stage liver disease, acute liver failure, or certain liver cancers. The procedure aims to restore liver function, improve quality of life, and prolong survival. Liver transplants have revolutionized the treatment of liver diseases, offering hope to patients who would otherwise face poor prognosis and limited treatment options.

Types of Liver Transplants

  • Liver transplants come in different types depending on the source of the donor organ and the relationship between the donor and recipient:
  • Deceased Donor Liver Transplant: The liver is obtained from a deceased donor who has consented to organ donation.
  • Living Donor Liver Transplant: A portion of the liver is surgically removed from a living donor, usually a family member or close relative, and transplanted into the recipient.
  • Split Liver Transplant: A deceased donor's liver is divided into two portions, allowing it to be transplanted into two recipients, often an adult and a child.
  • Auxiliary Liver Transplant: A partial liver transplant from a living or deceased donor is performed alongside the recipient's native liver, providing temporary support until the recipient's liver regenerates or stabilizes.
  • Each type of liver transplant has its unique advantages and considerations, tailored to the individual needs of the recipient and the availability of suitable donors.

Why Do You Need Liver Transplants?

  • End-stage Liver Disease: Liver transplants are necessary for individuals with advanced liver disease, where the liver can no longer function adequately to support life.
  • Acute Liver Failure: In cases of sudden and severe liver damage, such as drug-induced liver injury or viral hepatitis, a liver transplant may be the only life-saving option.
  • Liver Cancer: Liver transplantation can be a curative treatment for certain types of liver cancer that have not spread beyond the liver and cannot be treated effectively by other means.
  • Genetic Disorders: Inherited liver diseases such as hemochromatosis, Wilson's disease, and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency may progress to end-stage liver disease, necessitating a liver transplant for survival.
  • Complications of Cirrhosis: Advanced cirrhosis, resulting from conditions like alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or autoimmune hepatitis, can lead to liver failure and necessitate transplantation.
  • Rare Liver Conditions: Some rare liver diseases, such as primary biliary cholangitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and Budd-Chiari syndrome, may progress to end-stage liver disease, requiring transplantation for survival.
  • Failed Previous Liver Transplant: In cases where a previous liver transplant has failed due to complications or rejection, a repeat liver transplant may be necessary to restore liver function and prolong survival.

How Are Patients Selected For The Procedure?
Patients undergo a comprehensive evaluation to determine their suitability for liver transplantation. This assessment involves a medical history review, physical examination, laboratory tests, imaging studies, and consultations with specialists. Criteria include severity of liver disease, overall health, absence of contraindications, and ability to comply with post-transplant care. A multidisciplinary transplant team, including hepatologists, surgeons, nurses, and social workers, collaborates to assess each patient's candidacy. The evaluation also considers factors such as age, presence of other medical conditions, social support, and willingness to adhere to lifelong immunosuppressive therapy. The goal is to ensure optimal outcomes and resource utilization for suitable candidates.

Risks And Benefits Associated With Liver Transplants
Risks of Liver Transplants:

  • Surgical Complications: Risks include bleeding, infection, blood clots, bile duct complications, and wound healing issues.
  • Organ Rejection: The body's immune system may recognize the transplanted liver as foreign and attack it, requiring lifelong immunosuppressive medications.
  • Infection: Immunosuppression increases susceptibility to infections, including opportunistic pathogens.
  • Side Effects of Medications: Immunosuppressive drugs can cause adverse effects such as kidney damage, hypertension, diabetes, and increased risk of certain cancers.
  • Post-transplant Complications: These may include bile duct strictures, recurrent liver disease, and metabolic issues.

Benefits of Liver Transplants:

  • Life-saving Treatment: Liver transplantation offers a chance for survival in patients with end-stage liver disease or acute liver failure.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Transplantation can alleviate symptoms, restore liver function, and enable patients to resume normal activities.
  • Long-term Survival: Many patients achieve excellent long-term survival and improved health outcomes post-transplant.
  • Treatment of Underlying Conditions: Liver transplantation can cure underlying liver diseases such as liver cancer and genetic disorders.
  • Potential for Re-growth: In living donor transplants, both the donor's and recipient's liver can regenerate to near-normal size, reducing the risk of donor complications and improving outcomes.

Recovery And Rehabilitation After Liver Transplants

Recovery and rehabilitation after liver transplantation involve several stages. Initially, patients are closely monitored in the hospital for surgical complications, organ rejection, and infection. Immunosuppressive medications are administered to prevent rejection. Gradually, patients transition to a regular diet, with dietary and activity restrictions eased over time. Physical therapy may be recommended to regain strength and mobility. Long-term follow-up care focuses on monitoring liver function, managing medications, and addressing any complications. With adherence to medical recommendations and lifestyle modifications, many patients can achieve a full recovery and resume normal activities, enjoying improved health and quality of life post-transplant.

What To Expect After A Liver Transplant? 
After a liver transplant, patients can expect a period of close monitoring for surgical complications, organ rejection, and infection. They will need to take immunosuppressive medications lifelong to prevent rejection. Gradually, they will regain strength and resume normal activities, with regular follow-up appointments to monitor liver function and adjust medications as needed. While some side effects and complications may occur, many patients experience improved health and quality of life post-transplant, with the potential for long-term survival and freedom from the symptoms of end-stage liver disease. Compliance with medical recommendations is crucial for optimal outcomes.

Request an Appointment


Now Book Doctor Appointment in 3 Easy Steps

Calender Icon

I know my symptoms but I don't know whom to consult

Frequently Asked Questions

Liver transplant surgery typically takes between 6 to 12 hours to complete. The duration may vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the procedure, the patient's anatomy, and the surgical team's experience performing the transplant.

The success rate of liver transplants is high, with one-year survival rates averaging around 85-90% and five-year survival rates ranging from 70-80%. Success is defined as long-term survival with restored liver function and improved quality of life.

After liver transplantation, patients undergo a period of close monitoring for surgical complications, organ rejection, and infection. Gradual resumption of normal activities occurs as strength improves. Lifelong immunosuppressive medications are necessary to prevent rejection. Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor liver function and adjust medications as needed.

After liver transplant surgery, pain management typically involves a combination of medications such as opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and acetaminophen. Pain medications are tailored to the individual's needs and may be adjusted as recovery progresses. Additional measures, such as ice packs or local anesthetic injections, may also be used to alleviate discomfort.

The timeline for returning to normal activities after liver transplant surgery varies among individuals. Generally, patients can expect to gradually resume normal activities within a few months post-transplant, with full recovery and a return to pre-transplant levels of activity typically achieved within six to twelve months.

Physical therapy is typically not required after liver transplant surgery unless specific issues arise, such as muscle weakness or impaired mobility. In such cases, a physical therapist may be involved to provide tailored exercises and rehabilitation programs to help regain strength, mobility, and overall physical function.

After liver transplant surgery, patients may need to make certain lifestyle changes to promote overall health and well-being. These may include adhering to a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, practising good hygiene to prevent infections, and maintaining regular exercise and follow-up appointments with healthcare providers.

While a liver transplant is the definitive treatment for end-stage liver disease, alternative treatments may be considered in certain cases. These may include medications to manage symptoms and slow disease progression, minimally invasive procedures to alleviate complications, or experimental therapies in clinical trials for specific liver conditions.

After liver transplant surgery, patients are encouraged to engage in light to moderate exercises such as walking, stretching, and low-impact activities. Gradually increasing physical activity helps improve strength, mobility, and overall recovery. Specific exercise programs may be tailored to individual needs by a physical therapist or healthcare provider.

Need Help?

Call US

+91 80788 80788


Ivy Healthcare Group Corporate Office,Phase-8, Industrial Area, Sector 73, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, Punjab 160071