What is a Liver transplant?
Liver transplant is the process of replacing the diseased liver of a patient with the healthy liver of another person. A liver is a very important organ of the body, and if the patient suffers from an end-stage liver disease, then liver transfer seems to be a good option for the patient. Either the entire liver or just a portion of it can be transplanted.
What may lead to end-stage liver disease?
- Viral hepatitis: Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C are common diseases that may affect the liver and cause end-stage liver cancer.
- Primary liver cancers: As the name suggests, these are cancerous tumors that grow in the liver and destroy its functioning.
- Acute hepatic necrosis: Sometimes the tissue in the liver may die as a reaction to infection, drugs, toxins etc. This condition can then lead to end-stage liver disease.
- Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis develops when scar tissue takes the place of healthy liver tissue. The liver cannot function normally as a result. Cirrhosis is a very common condition that causes end-stage liver disease.
- Autoimmune hepatitis: In this condition, the immune system of the body attacks the liver, which results in redness and swelling of the liver, and affects the health of the liver.
Living-donor liver transplant:
During this liver transplant procedure, a part of the healthy liver is taken from the donor’s body. Then, the diseased liver is removed from the body of the recipient and the donor’s healthy liver is implanted in the space left by the diseased liver. Then the blood vessels and bile ducts of the recipient’s body are connected to the new liver. Within several weeks, the portion of liver implanted on the recipient’s body, and the portion of liver left in the donor’s body regenerate, reaching normal volume.
- It has been observed that people who receive liver from a live donor have a better chance at survival then people who receive liver from a dead donor.
- The patient/recipient will have to take the drugs called immunosuppressants for the rest of their lives so as to ensure that their immune system doesn’t attack their new liver.
- It takes about 6 months or more to fully recover from your liver transplant surgery.
- The recipient will have to take care of their diet and exercise regularly to make the most of the liver transplant.
- The recipient must see a health care provider regularly to ensure that they are at their optimal health.