The liver is one of the largest organs in your body. It helps digest the food you eat and convert it into energy. It also helps fight infections and cleans your blood, thus making it a very vital organ. However many people today due to their unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits develop problems in their Liver.
At times, the only available alternative to having a healthy liver is undergoing a Liver Transplant surgery. Simply put ‘Liver Transplantation’ is surgery to remove a diseased or injured liver and replace it with a healthy one from another person, also called as a donor.
In adults, the most common reason for needing a liver transplant is ‘Cirrhosis’. This is caused by various different types of diseases which destroy the healthy liver cells and replace them with scar tissues.
A specialized team of Liver Transplant surgeons, usually decide when a person needs to undergo a liver transplant. The team does a full body examination, runs X-Rays and blood tests and then only determine if the person would benefit from a liver transplant.
There are two types of liver transplants – Living Donor and Deceased Donor Transplants. In case of the ‘living donor’ Liver Transplant, a portion of Liver from the living donor is removed and transplanted in the body of the recipient, it usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks for the Liver to regenerate.
In deceased donor liver transplants, the donor is usually a brain dead person whose brain has been damaged & hence the person has become brain dead, has been declared legally dead. As the donors’ other vital organs are alive for some time, with support, the management of donor is continued in the ICU, and the option of organ donation is given to the relatives, and after consent, appropriate organs are retrieved and transplanted into the recipient.
The Transplant surgery can take up to 12 hours and recovery time ranges from 1 to 2 weeks. Proper care, follow-up and life-long medications are required for the new Liver to function properly.