Liver Transplant

Definition

This is a surgery to replace a diseased or damaged liver with a liver from a donor who has died. In some cases, a portion of the liver of a living, related donor may be used.
Normal vs. Diseased Liver
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Reasons for Procedure

A liver transplant is done to treat a liver that is not working and cannot be treated. This may be caused by:
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatitis A , B , or C
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis, which is a disease of the bile ducts
  • Sudden liver failure
  • Congenital defects such as biliary atresia
  • Liver tumors
  • Metabolic defects such as Wilson disease
  • Poisoning or drug-induced damage

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have liver transplant, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
  • Rejection of the transplanted liver
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby organs
  • Bile-duct obstruction or bile leakage into the body
  • Complications from immunosuppressive drugs
  • Blood clots
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Poor nutrition
  • Additional illnesses
  • Serious heart, lung, or kidney disease
  • Use of certain medications
  • Cancer
  • Current infection
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the surgery.

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