If you're notified that a liver from a deceased donor is available, you'll be asked to come to the hospital immediately. Your health care team will admit you to the hospital, and you'll undergo an exam to make sure you're healthy enough for the surgery.
Liver transplant surgery is done using general anesthesia, so you'll be unaware during the procedure.
The transplant surgeon makes a long incision across your abdomen to access your liver. The location and size of your incision varies according to your surgeon's approach and your own anatomy.
The surgeon disconnects your liver's blood supply and the bile ducts and then removes the diseased liver. The donor liver is then placed in your body and blood vessels and bile ducts are reattached. Surgery can take up to 12 hours, depending on your situation.
Once your new liver is in place, the surgeon uses stitches and staples to close the surgical incision. You're then taken to the intensive care unit to begin recovery.
A small percentage of liver donations come from a living donor, such as a friend or family member. During a living-donor liver transplant, one portion of the donor's liver is removed and transplanted in your body. The livers begin regenerating new cells almost immediately.
If you're receiving a liver transplant from a living donor, such as a friend or family member, surgeons will transplant a portion of the donor's liver in your body. Surgeons first operate on the donor, removing the portion of the liver for transplant. Then surgeons remove your diseased liver and place the donated liver portion in your body. They then connect your blood vessels and bile ducts to the new liver.
The transplanted liver portion in your body and the portion left behind in the donor's body regenerate rapidly.
After your liver transplant, you can expect to:
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Request an appointment with a Mayo Clinic doctor to determine if transplant is right for you.