What is liver transplant surgery?
Liver transplantation is a complex surgery that is opted for when a person has a damaged liver or develops a liver failure. A healthy liver can be taken and transplanted from both live and deceased donors.
There are four different types of surgeries that can be performed. The age of the patient, the donor (whether living or dead), and the condition of the liver determine which type of surgery is recommended by the doctor. The types are:
- Orthotopic transplantation: This is the most common procedure followed. The liver is taken from a healthy donor and transplanted into the patient. The liver has to be transferred to the recipient within 12-18 hours after its removal
- Living donor transplantation: A portion of the living donor’s kidney is removed and transferred to the recipient. The donor’s liver grows back to normal size within 2-3weeks. He/she can be a relative of the patient or a person authorised by a regulatory committee to donate the liver.
- Reduced-size/split-type liver transplantation: If a portion of the original liver is healthy, then this procedure can be chosen. The surgeon may take a portion of the liver from a healthy donor and transplant it. In case of a deceased donor, the liver can be split up into two and transferred to two recipients, generally an adult and child.
- Heterotopic/Auxiliary liver transplantation: If the doctor suspects that the recipient’s liver might recover, he/she can remove it partly and attach a portion of the healthy liver to it. If the liver recovers, the donated liver will shrivel away. If not, the donated liver will take over the functional role.