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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Liver transplant: Facts, Preparations and Procedures

Liver transplant is an operation done to replace the patient’s dysfunctional liver with a partial or a full healthy liver from a donor. In this article, we discuss various aspects you should consider in detail

Liver transplant: Facts, Preparations and Procedures

Anatomy of liver

The liver is a vital organ in the human body, it performs several key functions. It serves the body by metabolism of drugs and toxins in the body, expelling out the toxic substances from the blood, controlling levels of cholesterol, vitamins and minerals in the body as well as regulating sex hormones and producing blood clotting factors. It secretes bile, a liquid helpful in dissolving fat and eliminating metabolic waste and other toxins via the intestines

The need for Transplant

It has been recorded that a liver disease is one of the most common causes of death, after heart diseases, cancer, stroke and chest infections. Therefore there is a need for you to better understand various liver-related problems and seek necessary solutions. If any such disease causes a major damage to the liver and hinders its functioning to an extent which makes it irreparable, one has to opt for a liver transplant. Majorly there are two types of liver failure, Acute liver failure (occurs in a matter of weeks) and Chronic liver failure (occurs over a period of months or even years). Here is a list of diseases that need transplant as a permanent solution:


  • Liver cirrhosis (healthy liver tissue wears out and get scarred, being unable to filter toxins)
  • Alcoholic liver disease (scarred liver due to persistent alcohol consumption)
  • Wilson's disease (Copper accumulates in the liver)
  • Biliary duct atresia (absence or abnormal development of biliary duct)
  • Cystic fibrosis (A genetic disorder causing problems in lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys and intestines)
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (excess fat accumulated in liver)
  • Early-stage liver cancer (Tumor started to grow in the liver but hasn’t spread out of it)
  • Hemochromatosis (A disorder where body overloads Iron)


When isn’t transplant recommended?

The doctors may not recommend transplant if the patient is also suffering from another chronic infection, lung or heart diseases, metastatic cancer or any other critical diseases, alcohol consumption or patients non-compliance with the treatment regimen.

Eligibility for Transplant

Usually, doctors find out whether a patient is eligible for a liver transplant by evaluating their medical history as well as current medical conditions. They are likely to conduct diagnostics such as CT scan, Doppler ultrasound, ECG, blood test etc. Upon getting desired results from these diagnostics they consider a patient fir for transplant.

Donors and waiting lists

There are two types of donors a healthy liver can be sourced from. Living donors who are related to the patient can donate the liver to them, also one can get liver from a deceased donor (brain dead) by enrolling oneself on the waiting list. In this list, patients are prioritised based on their blood type, body size, and medical condition.

Transplant Procedure

Both Patient and the donor are supposed to be admitted 6-8 hours prior to the surgery. The duration of the surgery could range from 6 to 12 hours, wherein the healthy liver or a part of it extracted from the donor’s body replaces the failing liver in the patient’s body. The donor could be discharged in 2-3 days, whereas the patient has to stay back for at least a week’s time. The patient requires gradual recovery which could take up to a year.

Costs and treatment options

It is important to consider how much your hospital charges and what facilities it offers in return. However, if you look for quality services it might cost you a bit more here is an option of travelling to other countries for treatment. In such cases, India is one of the most affordable and reliable countries for a liver transplant, qualified doctors and advent state of art treatment technologies in the country has made it popular among medical tourists. Your trip for Liver transplant in India can be planned better if you consider consulting an organisation like MedMonks which specializes in medical tourism.

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