Liver Transplant; Surgery, Criteria, Recovery & Life Expectancy

Liver disease is sometimes silent and difficult to detect, but you can also have very noticeable symptoms, as in hepatitis A. Ironically, the silent disease is often more dangerous because it stays unnoticed for a long time, during which the disease is destroying the liver. This happens in alcoholic liver damage, hepatitis B, and other chronic conditions. The damage to the organ is progressive, and after reaching a certain threshold, it is also irreversible.

Cirrhosis is the last stage of chronic hepatitis, alcoholic liver damage, fatty liver, and other ailments. Once a patient reaches this point, there is little to do, and sometimes a transplant surgery is the only choice to save their lives.

This article will explore everything you need to know about this type of surgery. We’re briefly explaining how it is performed, which patients need this type of surgery, and everything related to the recovery and life expectancy after surgery.

What is liver transplant surgery?

A liver transplant surgery is a medical procedure performed to replace the liver when it is severely damaged without a chance of recovery. This procedure takes a part of the liver of another person or a complete liver donated after death to replace the diseased tissue in the patient. Most transplanted livers come from deceased patients with a healthy organ who became organ donors after death. However, it is also possible to donate part of your liver to a relative or friend, but blood tests should be performed to ensure that the foreign liver tissue will not be rejected.

Even if a patient receives a piece of liver, this organ is the only one that grows back to its standard size. Thus, after surgery, it will start growing and taking the space of a normal liver. This regeneration capacity is lost in a diseased liver, and that’s why transplantation is sometimes the only choice left.

This surgery aims to improve the quality of life and prolong the patient’s lifespan. Thus, patients with severe liver disease are usually evaluated and followed up to determine the best timing to replace the liver.

Written by Martin Davis