The liver performs many critical functions, including drug metabolism, removing foreign and toxic substances from the blood, and synthesizing many essential proteins and enzymes. Moreover, the liver is the only organ in the body that can renew itself after most of it has been removed. More than half of the liver, which works like a factory in the body, can be taken from the donor for organ transplantation without deterioration in liver function or other severe damage.

Since chronic liver failure is a fundamental life-threatening health problem, liver replacement is the only option. A liver piece taken from a living or cadaver is attached to the person, and the patient can regain a healthy life. However, an experienced team must perform this procedure in a fully equipped hospital. In this regard, you can choose the hospitals in Turkey with peace of mind.

Curious About Liver Transplantation

Liver failure may develop rapidly or involve a long process. Liver failure that manifests suddenly within a few weeks is acute liver failure. Acute liver failure is a rare condition usually resulting from complications from certain medications. Although liver transplantation is a solution for acute liver failure, it is mainly used to treat chronic liver failure.

In contrast to acute, chronic liver failure occurs slowly over months or years. The origin of chronic liver failure is due to several conditions. The most common cause of chronic liver failure is scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). When cirrhosis occurs, scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue and impairs the liver’s proper function.

Common causes of cirrhosis leading to liver failure and, therefore, liver transplantation are as follows:

  • Hepatitis B and C disease
  • Liver disease that causes liver damage due to excessive alcohol consumption
  • Disorders that cause fat to accumulate in the liver, inflammation, or liver cell damage
  • Hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease
  • Diseases that affect the bile ducts (primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and biliary atresia)
  • Biliary atresia is the most well-known reason for liver transplantation, especially in children.


What Are the Risks of Liver Transplantation?

  • Leaks from the bile duct
  • Bile ducts begin to narrow
  • Bleeding and blood clots
  • Infections
  • Rejection of donor’s liver
  • experiencing mental confusion
  • Side effects of drugs that prevent rejection of the donor’s liver (thinning of the bones, diabetes, diarrhea, headache, high blood pressure and cholesterol)

How is Liver Transplant Performed?

If you are informed that you can receive a deceased donor’s liver, you will be asked to come to the hospital immediately. You will undergo a series of examinations to ensure you are healthy enough for surgery.

Liver transplant surgery is performed using general anesthesia so you will be anesthetized during the procedure. The transplant surgeon makes a long incision in your abdomen to reach your liver. The location and size of your incision depend on the surgeon’s approach and anatomy.

The surgeon removes the diseased liver and places the new liver in your body. It then connects your blood vessels and bile ducts to the donor’s liver. Depending on your situation, the surgery can take up to 12 hours. Once your new liver is in place, the surgeon uses stitches and staples to close the incision. You will then be transported to the intensive care unit to begin recovery.

If you are receiving a liver from a living donor, your surgery is planned. The surgeon first performs surgery on the donor and removes the part of the liver reserved for transplant. Then the surgeon removes the diseased liver from your body and places the donated liver in your body. It then connects your blood vessels and bile ducts to the new liver.

The transplanted liver part in your body and the part left behind in the donor’s body are rapidly renewed and reach their average volume within a few weeks.


Post-Liver Transplant Process

You will likely stay in the intensive care unit for a few days. Doctors and nurses keep you under control to watch for signs of complications. They also often test your liver function for signs that the new liver is working correctly.


You spend 5 to 10 days in the hospital. Make frequent checkups as you continue to recover at home. Your transplant team will design a control program for you. You may have blood tests a few times a week, then less frequently over time.


You will likely use drugs for the rest of your life. Medicines called immunosuppressants to prevent your immune system from attacking your new liver. Other medications reduce the risk of further complications after the transplant. You can return to your daily activities and work a few months after the surgery. Your condition after a liver transplant depends on many factors, including what caused your liver failure.