Liver Transplantation – Frequently Asked Questions
September 10, 2019
When a diseased liver is removed from the body of one individual and replaced with a healthy one from a healthy individual, the procedure is called Liver Transplantation.
It can be done with two kinds of donors:
- Deceased Donor: A liver transplant is possible using the liver of a person who has just passed away.
- Living Donor: This person is usually a relative of the recipient or a close friend. A living donor is usually someone in the family or a close friend. After such a transplant, the part of the liver donated will regrow to its normal size in about six to eight weeks.
The need for a liver transplant could be due to various reasons or causes. The most common among them is cirrhosis. This is a condition which is marked by the slow deterioration of the liver and its overall malfunctioning owing to a severe injury. Scar tissue takes the place of healthy liver tissue and blocks the blood flow to the liver, to some extent.
Children who need a liver transplant usually suffer from biliary atresia. This rare condition is first seen in newborns whose bile duct is either absent or blocked. Blocked bile leads to cirrhosis which in turn calls for liver transplantation. If left untreated, this condition can cause liver failure.
Other causes for liver transplantation are hereditary diseases, benign liver tumours and liver cancer. By opting for liver transplantation in the early part of liver cancer treatment, patients have a better chance of survival.
Various specialists of different medical disciplines need to check to evaluate whether a transplant is really needed. This involves knowing your medical history and undergoing a battery of tests including, blood picture, X-rays, etc. A patient’s overall health picture is also required to know if he will be healthy enough to undergo surgery.
Reasons for Liver Transplantation
There are many reasons for a liver transplant, the most common being the following:
- End-stage Cirrhosis: This could be the result of chronic hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis, primary bilary sclerosis, hemochromatosis, etc.
- Liver cancers such as primary hepatocellular carcinoma, cholangiocarcinoma, primary hepatocellular malignancies, hepatic adenomas, etc.
- Fulminant viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D), hepatic thrombosis can cause Fulminant hepatic failure.
- Genetic liver diseases
The Right Candidate for Liver Transplantation
If you suffer from irreversible acute or chronic liver disease, you can go in for a liver transplant.
Who Is the Ideal Liver Donor?
To donate your liver, you should be a close relative of the recipient, aged between 18 and 55 years. Your blood group should match the recipient’s and your weight should be between 50 kg and 90 kg. Overall, you should be healthy.
Who is Not the Ideal Candidate for Liver Transplantation?
If you suffer from certain medical conditions as described below, it disqualifies you from making a liver donation. These conditions or absolute contraindications are:
- AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease)
- Cancer presently in an organ apart from the liver
- Metastatic cancer of the liver
- Alcoholic liver disease along with failure to give it up for at least six months
- Severe active infection
- Active substance abuse
- Irreversible brain dysfunction
- Advanced heart or lung disease
Cost of A Liver Transplant
The cost of a liver transplant in India ranges between Rs. 20 lakhs and Rs. 30 lakhs.
How Is the Decision to Go in for a Transplant Taken?
Close family members and relatives and the doctors involved in an individual’s care jointly take this decision. The donor’s cooperation is vital as he or she should fully understand the risks involved with transplantation.
Is a Liver Transplant the Last Resort Treatment?
No, it isn’t. A liver transplant is usually done before the patient can reach the terminal stage of the disease he suffers from when he is too ill to withstand surgery.
Is it Safe to Donate a Liver?
The liver is one organ that has a lot of reserves. Besides, it can grow back to its original size within two to three months after a part of it has been donated. The donor is free from any long-term side-effects, so he does not have to take any medication.
What Are the Risks for the Recipient Before the Surgery?
Before surgery, the chief risk the recipient faces is developing acute liver disease complications which could disqualify him for surgery. Doctors may face some technical difficulties while removing the diseased liver and replacing it with a healthy one. A major risk, however, is for the patient to experience no liver function at all for a short while.
Post-Surgery, What Are the Risks the Recipient Faces?
Soon after surgery, the recipient could experience bleeding, infection and poorly functioning grafted liver. So, it is normal for the patient to be closely monitored by the doctors for many weeks to check for rejection of the liver.
What Are the Chances of Patient Survival After a Liver Transplant?
Though this varies from case to case, yet overall the survival rate of liver transplant patients is between 85% and 90% for children and adults. Due to this, they can be discharged quickly from the hospital.
Why Rela Hospital?
A liver transplant is a delicate surgery and of great importance to both the donor and recipient. That’s why not only does the doctor and medical team need to treat the patient with great care but also his family. At Rela Hospital, we understand this and have adopted this as our daily practice.
Our team of liver specialists, oncologists, doctors, nurses and related staff work committedly to ensure that our patients are well taken care of and are in a positive frame of mind during their entire stay at our hospital. This attitude helps them accept treatment easier and expedites their recovery. Because of our innovative methods of medical and post-surgery care, we are happy to be labelled the best liver transplantation hospital in India.
We have in our midst some of the top liver transplantation surgeons in India, who come to us with years of experience and training at some of the world’s finest hospitals for liver disease management and care.
And the icing on the cake? Our founder, Prof. Rela, himself a liver disease expert and counted among India’s top liver disease specialists. What more can we ask for? And you?
To know more about Rela Hospital, Chennai, India, call +91 9384681770 for an appointment.