Living-donor liver transplant

Mayo Clinic transplant doctors, surgeons and other transplant staff members have extensive experience with living-donor liver transplant. Living-donor liver transplantation offers an attractive alternative to deceased-donor organ transplantation. You may have a shorter waiting period and equal or improved life expectancy with a living-donor transplant. Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Minnesota offer living-donor liver transplant.

In living-donor liver transplant, surgeons remove a portion of a donor's liver. Another surgical team then removes the recipient's entire diseased liver and replaces it with a portion of the living donor's healthy liver. The donor's liver and the portion of the donor's liver given to the recipient grow back to their full size within a few weeks. Living-donor liver transplant also may be performed from adult donors to pediatric recipients at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Donor eligibility and information

The transplant team will evaluate you to determine if you can donate a portion of your liver. Donors must be less than 55 years old, because the liver doesn't grow back as well in older people. You'll have blood tests to determine if your blood and tissue types are compatible with the organ recipient. Transplant staff will interview you, and you'll need to provide your medical history. You'll also have a thorough physical examination and psychological evaluation. Several other tests, including detailed imaging of your liver, will be performed to ensure that you're in good health and that your liver can safely be divided.

Transplant staff will discuss with you and your family the benefits and risks of donating a portion of your liver and answer your questions. After you donate a portion of your liver, living-donor coordinators and other transplant staff members will offer you support and follow-up care for several months after your surgery. You'll spend about a week in the hospital recovering, and you should plan for two to three months off work.