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Details

A liver transplant is a surgical procedure consisting of irreversibly replacing a diseased liver with a healthy liver. A liver transplant is a long and complex operation that takes place in several distinct stages: removal of the diseased liver, removal of the liver from the donor and then grafting it to the recipient and finally ensuring that it functions normally.

Liver transplantation is a two-step operation. The surgeon first removes the diseased liver before transplanting the healthy liver from the donor. These two steps require perfect synchronization. The donated liver also called a graft, must not remain too long deprived of blood to be able to function normally again.


Who Is This For?

  • Individuals who suffer from liver conditions such as hepatitis C, hepatitis B, primary liver cancers, autoimmune hepatitis, and alcoholic or non-alcoholic liver disease 
  • Individuals who do not suffer from any other life-threatening disease or condition

Treatment Duration

4-8 hours

Potential Risks & Side Effects

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Infections
  • Blood clots
  • Failure or rejection of donated liver
  • Infection
  • Mental confusion or seizures 

Recovery Time

Patients need 6 months on average to return their everyday activities after liver transplant surgery but it can take up to a year to fully recover.

Success Rate: 80 %

Alternative Treatments

Hepatocyte transplantation

How Does it Work?

If you are chosen as a recipient, you are contacted by the transplant team who takes care of you to find out if you still agree to be transplanted and if there are no last-minute contraindications. You are then invited to go to the transplant center which takes care of you. You must stay on an empty stomach. Meanwhile, a transplant team surgeon takes the donor's liver. You will not be operated until the donor surgeon has examined the donor's liver and verified that it can be transplanted.


What Does a Liver Transplant Involve?

1.         Consultation for Liver Transplant

Your treatment process begins with an online consultation. Our experts listen to your health story, your liver condition’s progression status, and your expectations. They will inform you about whether you need a liver transplant or other treatments. It is important to share all your health information that may be useful at this stage. If available, please share your diagnosis and treatment process documents, imaging results and information about your current health status with the health providers during this online consultation.

2.         Planning Your Trip and Choosing the Clinic

After your first evaluation, we offer a list of liver transplant clinics that meet the criteria you provide us. You will then examine all and decide on one of them. Depending on your choice, we move on to planning the entire treatment process.

3.         Final Consultation with Your Surgeon

When you arrive at the clinic, you will have a face-to-face consultation with your doctor. Everything about your liver transplant surgery will be discussed and decided during this consultation. The doctor will ask you some questions to try to understand your expectations and concerns better and also make you understand what you should expect from your treatment with its potential risks or complications. Your doctor will explain the whole process clearly in order you to feel enlightened and ready.

4.         Medical Examinations

Before the liver transplant surgery begins, your surgeon will perform a series of tests to ensure that there are no contraindications. He or she will conduct physical and blood tests to make sure that you are in acceptable health status for the surgery and to eliminate the risks that can hinder the success of the procedure.

As soon as to be a candidate for a liver transplant, the patient is regularly followed up at the hospital to carry out various examinations (blood tests, medical imaging examinations). The patient must also be up to date with his vaccinations (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, pertussis Hemophilus influenza b). Vaccination against influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, pneumococcus, MMR, chickenpox) is highly recommended.

While waiting for a donor, the patient can wait several months before being transplanted, this time varies depending on the indication for the transplant but also the severity of his condition.

5.         Surgery

A liver transplant takes place under general anesthesia. A venous line, a urinary catheter, a gastric tube, and tracheal intubation are placed.

The procedure takes place in two stages:

  • Removal of the diseased liver (hepatectomy): the surgeon makes a horizontal incision under the ribs, and vertical towards the sternum. It cuts the ligamentous attachments of the liver, the blood vessels arriving at the liver (hepatic artery and portal vein), those leaving it (hepatic veins) as well as the main bile duct, then removes the diseased liver.
  • Healthy liver transplant: the surgeon places the graft in the abdomen, connects the blood vessels to quickly re-supply the graft, then the various vessels transporting the bile. The surgeon then tests the circulation of blood and bile. Small redons are placed to evacuate liquids, as well as a bile drain.

These two stages must be perfectly synchronized because the graft must remain as short as possible deprived of blood circulation.

Anti-rejection treatment is started in the operating room.


What Happens After Liver Transplant Surgery?

  • The patient remains in the intensive care unit for at least 72 hours, during which he is subject to increased surveillance day and night (scope monitoring, blood pressure, blood test every 8 hours, ultrasound of the liver) for ensuring that the body recovers from the operation, that the graft works properly and that the patient supports the anti-rejection treatment.
  • The drain is removed between 3 and 4 months after the transplant. During this period, her dressing should be changed regularly by a home nurse. Recovery lasts approximately 6 months, depending on the patient's condition.
  • After a transplant, immunosuppressants or anti-rejection medicines are prescribed for life to help keep your body from rejecting the new liver. This treatment modulates the immune system and thus reduces the risk of rejection of the graft.
  • At the same time, the transplant recipient must regularly carry out assessments at the transplant center (ultrasound, blood tests) to control the functioning of the liver, prevent possible rejection and detect the side effects of anti-rejection treatment. The frequency of follow-up is less and less approximated over time (every week for the first 3 months, then 1-2 times a year after the 3rd year).

 

FAQ

When to Need A Liver Transplant?

Liver transplants are used in cases of end-stage liver failure; when the liver is no longer able to perform its functions.

What Are the Side Effects of Immunosuppressants?

Possible side effects of immunosuppressants include:

  • Infection
  • High levels of cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney damage
  • High blood pressure

What Happens If You Drink Alcohol After A Liver Transplant?

Alcoholic beverage consumption after transplant is not recommended, even for people who have not had alcohol-related liver disease. Alcohol is broken down by the liver and drinking alcohol forces the liver extra effort.

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    Vasile, Romania
    star star Jan 2018
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