Liver transplantation is surgical procedure to remove a diseased or injured liver and replace it with a healthy one from another person, called a donor. The donor can be living in which case only a part of is taken. In case of deceased donor, the whole organ is transplanted.
The liver serves as an inspection organ. Every nutrient we consume passes through the liver. As every element in your blood stream is filtered here, it fight infections and cleans your blood. The bile produced in the liver helps break bilirubin which is a substance that comes from the breakup of hemoglobin in the dead red blood cells. The liver is the largest organ in your body. It is not possible to live a normal healthy life without a functional liver.
The signs and symptoms of unhealthy liver and problems are:
Anyone with a non-functional liver needs a transplant. In adults, the most common reason for needing a liver transplant is cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is chronic damage to the liver caused by many different types of diseases that destroy healthy liver cells and replace them with scar tissue.
Some causes of cirrhosis are
In children, the most common reason for needing a liver transplant is biliary atresia. If in birth a condition, the bile ducts are missing, damaged, or blocked, there will be no passage of bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine. When bile ducts are blocked, bile backs up in the liver and causes cirrhosis.
Other reasons for needing a liver transplant include
Your need for a liver transplant will be decided by doctors. Your liver condition will be evaluated by a liver transplant team. The team will include experts like liver transplant surgeons, liver specialists, called hepatologist; nurses and other health care professionals. The transplant team will examine you with blood tests, X-rays, and other tests to help decide whether you would benefit from a transplant.
The transplant team will evaluate if
After you are approved for a transplant, doctors help you decide your treatment by explaining the patient the detailed procedure and time of:
There are rules about who can have a liver transplant. A liver transplant is not possible if the patient has:
Most livers for transplant comes from people who have just died. This type of donor is called a deceased donor. Sometimes a healthy living person will donate part of his or her liver to a patient, usually a family member. This type of donor is called a living donor. Both types of transplants usually have good results.
All donated livers and living donors are tested before transplant surgery. The testing makes sure the donor liver works as it should, matches the patient's blood type, and is the right size, so it has the best chance of working in a new body. Adults usually receive the entire liver from a deceased donor. Sometimes only a portion of a whole liver from a deceased donor is used to fit a smaller person. In some cases, a liver from a deceased donor is split into two parts. The smaller part may go to a child, and the larger part may go to an adult.
When a liver is available for transplant, the person getting the transplant is quickly admitted to the hospital to be prepared for the surgery. If the new liver is from a living donor, both you and the donor will have surgery at the same time. If the new liver is from a deceased donor, your surgery will start when the new liver arrives at the hospital.
The transplant surgery can take up to 12 hours. The surgeon will remove your diseased liver and then replace it with the donated liver.
After the transplant of the new liver, you will stay in the hospital about 1 to 2 weeks to be sure the new liver is functioning. Medicines are administered to prevent infections and rejection of your new liver. Doctors will check for bleeding, infections, and liver rejection. During this time of recovery learn how to take care of yourself. There will be a lifelong in-take of medicines to protect your new liver. Learn about these medicines, dosages and
The new liver is often seen as a foreign substance and then there might be chances of rejection. Rejection occurs when your immune system attacks the new liver. After a transplant, it is common for your immune system to try to destroy the new liver.
To keep your body from rejecting the new liver, you will take anti-rejection medicines. The immunosuppressive medicines need to be taken for the rest of your life to fight off your immune system form rejecting the new liver.
Anti-rejection medicines can have many serious side-effects. As the immunosuppressive medicines weaken your immune system, there may be increased chances of other infections. Other possible side effects include
If your body rejects the new liver, you might feel tired, lose your appetite, or feel sick to your stomach. Other symptoms include having
Rejection will not always make you feel ill, therefore Doctors will check your blood for signs of rejection. A liver biopsy is usually needed to tell whether your body is rejecting the new liver. For a biopsy, the doctor takes a small piece of the liver to view with a microscope.
If the liver is functional and not rejected by the body, the problem is not yet over. Relapse of the liver disease that caused the need for a transplant can also damage a new liver.
Liver transplants usually work. About 80 to 85 percent of transplanted livers keep functioning after one year. If the new liver does not work or if your body rejects it, your doctor and the transplant team will decide whether another transplant is possible.
After discharge from the hospital, you will see your doctor often to be sure your new liver is working well. You will have regular blood tests to check that your new liver is not being damaged by rejection, infections, or problems with blood vessels or bile ducts.
To help care for your liver, you will need to
After a successful liver transplant, you can go back to their normal daily activities, and may even return to work. Getting your strength back may take months, especially if you were very sick before the transplant. Your doctor will guide you about how long your recovery period will be. Families, friends and support groups help you adjust to life with a new liver.
Most people can have a normal sex life after a liver transplant. For women, avoiding pregnancy in the first year after a transplant is recommended. Talk with your transplant team about when it is okay to have sex again or get pregnant after your transplant.
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