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Liver Transplant
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Liver Transplant?

This is a surgery to replace a diseased or damaged liver with a liver from a donor who has died. In some cases, a portion of the liver of a living, related donor may be used.

Normal vs. Diseased Liver
Normal vs. Diseased Liver
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

A liver transplant is done to treat a liver that is not working and cannot be fixed. This may be caused by:

  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatitis A , B , or C
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis (disease of the bile ducts)
  • Sudden liver failure
  • Congenital defects (eg, biliary atresia)
  • Liver tumors
  • Metabolic defects (eg, Wilson's disease )
  • Poisoning or drug-induced damage

After the transplant, most patients are able to return to normal activities in 6-12 months.

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have liver transplant, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Rejection of transplanted liver
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby organs
  • Bile-duct obstruction or bile leakage into the body
  • Complications from immunosuppressive drugs
  • Blood clots

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Poor nutrition
  • Recent or long-term illness
  • Serious heart, lung, or kidney disease
  • Use of certain medicines
  • Cancer
  • Current infection

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the surgery.

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the...