A living-donor liver transplant involves transplanting a portion of the liver from a living donor into a recipient whose liver no longer functions properly.
The donor's remaining liver regenerates itself and returns to its normal volume and capacity within a couple of months after the surgery. Meanwhile, the transplanted liver portion grows and restores normal liver function in the recipient.
Health History Questionnaire
Interested in being a living kidney or liver donor? Start the process by completing a Health History Questionnaire.
The number of people waiting for a liver transplant greatly exceeds the number of available deceased-donor livers.
Living-donor liver transplant provides an alternative to waiting for a deceased-donor liver to become available. Having a living liver donor also allows the recipient to avoid potential health complications associated with waiting for transplant.
Living-donor liver transplants are more common among children needing a liver transplant than among adults due to the scarcity of appropriately sized deceased-donor organs.
Most living liver donors are close family members or friends of the liver transplant candidates.
Before the procedure
To be considered for a living-donor liver transplant, both the donor and recipient must undergo a thorough health and psychological evaluation at a transplant center. Separate transplant teams will care for the donor and recipient during the evaluation process and will discuss the potential benefits and risks of the procedure in detail.
For example, while the procedure is often potentially lifesaving for the recipient, donating a portion of a liver carries significant risks for the donor.
Matching of living-donor livers with recipients is based on age, blood type, organ size and other factors.
March 06, 2018
- Cotler S. Living donor liver transplantation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 13, 2016.
- Liver transplant. American Liver Foundation. http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/transplant/. Accessed June 13, 2016.
- What I need to know about liver transplantation. National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/livertransplant_ez/. Accessed June 13, 2016.
- Kim WR, et al. OPTN/SRTR Annual Data Report 2014: Liver. American Journal of Transplantation. 2016;16 (suppl 2):69.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Liver transplant. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.