Frequently Asked Questions
What is Liver Transplant or Liver Transplantation?
Liver Transplant is a procedure where the damaged liver of an individual is replaced with a healthy liver of either living or deceased person. In chronic liver disease, the individual's liver is damaged such that it cannot function normally. The liver is an internal organ that is very important for the body’s metabolic function and makes proteins that are very essential for blood clotting. Liver transplantation is mostly performed by a specialist who has enough experience in liver transplantation surgery. A liver transplant can cure acute liver damage but however, it is mostly done to treat chronic liver damage. Chronic liver damage is caused by liver cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease, fatty liver, and infection by hepatitis B and C etc. There are some risks and complications associated with liver transplant along with its own benefits.
What are the advantages of a Liver Transplant?
Following are the advantages of Liver Transplant:
- Improves the quality of life of an individual suffering from chronic liver disease.
- Helps to cure Wilson’s disease.
- Individuals with severe liver disease can regain their liver function.
- Helps to cure liver dysfunction.
What are the indications of Liver Transplant?
Liver transplant is indicated in the following conditions:
- Chronic liver disease not responding to the medications
- Liver cancer without affecting the surrounding tissues and blood vessels
- End-stage liver disease
- Severe Liver dysfunction
What is the preparation for Liver Transplant?
- Your doctor will evaluate your health condition.
- You may be asked to submit your past medical history and medication history.
- Few tests will be performed such as blood tests, urine tests, heart check-up, imaging tests of the liver, and psychological assessments, etc.
- The doctor will examine you for MELD score.
- Follow all the prescriptions as directed by your doctor.
- Avoid consumption of alcohol.
What are the steps involved in Liver Transplant?
Generally, the liver is received from either living or deceased person. However, the steps involved in Liver Transplantation are:
- A portion or whole liver can be transplanted depending on the donor available
- If the liver donor is a deceased person, then the whole liver can be taken. In case the donor is a living person, then general anesthesia will be given to sedate and then the blood vessels that are connected to the liver and bile ducts are separated. Then a portion of the liver from the donor will be taken.
- The receiver will be sedated by using general anesthesia and the blood vessels of the liver along with bile ducts are separated.
- Now, either complete liver from the deceased donor or a portion of the liver from an alive donor will replace the diseased liver.
- After placing the healthy liver in the receiver's body, the surgeon will connect the blood vessels and bile ducts.
- Then all the incisions made are closed with stitches.
What is the postprocedure care/recovery care for Liver Transplant?
- After the surgery, you will be transferred to the ICU for a few days.
- All your vital signs along with the liver function will be monitored by nurses and doctors for up to 4-5 days.
- Once your transplanted liver is stable, you will be discharged from hospital and provide you a set of instructions to follow.
- You may feel mild to moderate discomfort with pain. If the pain is severe, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
- Immunosuppressants will be given to you and should take for almost life long.
- The doctor will schedule for regular check-ups to evaluate and to examine the status of the transplanted liver.
Who can perform this [Right specialist type for Liver Transplant]?
Liver Transplantation can be performed by:
- An experienced General surgeon
- Gastroenterologist with successfully performed liver transplantations
- A trained Hepatologist in liver transplantation
What is the cost of a Liver Transplant?
Cost of the Liver Transplant depends on the following factors:
- Admission fee
- Doctor fee
- Experience of the surgeon
- The medical condition of the patient
- Relationship to the liver donor
- Post-surgical complications that are involved
- Type of hospital
The minimum cost for Liver Transplant in Bangalore starts from Rs.20,00,000
Average price for Liver Transplant in Bangalore is approximately Rs.24,00,00.
The maximum amount for Liver Transplant to be paid in Bangalore rises up to Rs. 28,00,000
Is Liver Transplant a major surgery or minor surgery?
The severity of the procedure depends on:
- Patient health condition
- Duration of the surgery
- The severity of the liver disease
- The immune system of the patient
However, Liver Transplant is major surgery.
What is the eligibility criteria for a Liver Transplant?
Liver Transplant can be performed on:
- Individuals above 18 years old suffering from active chronic liver disease.
- People having liver cancer without spreading to surrounding tissues and blood vessels.
- Individuals whose liver disease is not responding to the medications.
What is the ineligibility criteria for a Liver Transplant?
Candidates who cannot undergo Liver Transplant are:
- Individuals who are below 18 years with an acute liver disease that can be treated with medications.
- Individuals who are suffering from cancer that is outside the liver.
- The person who consumed alcohol from the past 6 months.
- People suffering from blood disorders and psychiatric problems.
- People who cannot quit drinking alcohol even after the surgery.
What are the risks and complications associated with Liver Transplant?
Risks and complication involved in the Liver Transplant are:
- Blood loss
- Formation of blood clots
- Leakage in the bile ducts
- Shrinkage of the bile ducts
- Failure of the donated liver
- Rejection of the transplanted liver by the immune system
How long does it take to complete Liver Transplant?
To complete the Liver Transplant procedure, the surgeon may take about 4 to 8 hours.
What is the recovery time?
Recovery time from a Liver Transplant is about 3-5 months and mostly depends on the immune system of the patient.
What is the success rate of Liver Transplant?
The success rate of Liver Transplant mainly depends on:
- The immune system of the individual
- Experience of the doctor
- The condition of the liver disease
However, the success rate of a Liver Transplant is 75% to 89%.
Is Liver Transplant painful?
During the surgery, you will be sedated by giving general anesthesia and thus you won't feel any pain. But, after the surgery, there may be a mild to moderate pain. If the pain is severe and persistent, your doctor will provide a prescription of pain killers and needed to consume those medications to reduce the pain.
Is Liver Transplant Permanent?
Liver Transplantation is done to provide a good, healthy and long-lasting liver for an individual who is having a damaged liver. So, the transplanted liver may remain in a good health condition but in some cases, the individual may again develop the liver disease and can damage the transplanted liver too.
What are the long-term results of a Liver Transplant?
- Can increase life expectancy in individuals with chronic liver disease.
- Improves the quality of life.
- Renal impairment may occur.
- Can increase the risk of developing heart diseases.
- Lifelong immunosuppression medications may be required.
- Chronic graft dysfunction may happen.
Can it be detected in the future?
Any doctor who evaluates the liver function may able to detect Liver Transplantation.
What are the options if the Liver Transplant fails or not successful?
Failure of Liver Transplant may occur due to the immune system of an individual. So, if a liver transplant is not successful, the doctor may prescribe immunosuppressants to prevent the immune system from damaging the transplanted liver. Thus, the transplant rejection may be reversed.
What are the alternatives for Liver Transplant?
Some of the alternatives to Liver Transplant are:
- Extracorporeal artificial liver devices
- Hepatocyte transplantation
- Bioartificial liver devices
What is Liver Transplant rejection?
Liver Transplant rejection is destroying the transplanted liver by patients own immune system. The immune system identifies the transplanted liver as a foreign substance and tries to destroy it. So, some medications will be given to the patient to prevent the immune system from destroying it.
Is Liver Transplant dangerous for the donor?
There may be increased risks and complications to the donor for donating a liver and they are:
- Persistent pain
- Blood clot formation
- Rarely death
Is Liver Transplant possible for liver cancer?
Yes, It is possible. If liver cancer has not spread to other surrounding tissues and blood vessels, then liver transplantation is possible.
Does Liver Transplant cure Wilson's disease, cirrhosis?
Wilson's disease may increase damage to the liver and brain if it is untreated. So, liver transplantation can cure Wilson's disease in patients with acute liver damage. Cirrhosis is the condition where an individual's liver is at the endpoint to function and needed to be replaced with another. So, for cirrhosis patients, a liver transplant may or may not cure the disease condition and it depends on the status of the patient's health condition and immune system.