A liver transplant is an operation where your diseased liver is removed and replaced with a healthy donor human liver. Although liver transplants are now quite common, the operation is not undertaken lightly. It is a major operation and the body will always see the ‘new’ liver as a foreign agent and will try to destroy it. You may need a liver transplant if your liver is damaged to the point where it is unable to repair itself and is likely to fail completely. Your doctor may advise you to have a transplant when it is thought this will either dramatically improve your quality of life or that, without a transplant, your living years would decrease.
Having a liver transplant surgery, you’ll have several more tests before your surgery and more questions too. To debunk your doubts, we have compiled a list of common FAQs that most patients have asked.
- How Are Candidates for Liver Transplant Selected?
Liver Transplant surgery is the last option kept by any doctor. The patient who has been treated by all other means of medicine and surgery and has reached end-stage liver disease is the one eligible for liver transplant surgery.
A candidate for liver transplant surgery may be suffering from any of the liver conditions mentioned below.
- Hepatitis C
- Hepatitis B
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Non-Alcoholic steatohepatitis
- Primary liver cancers
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis
- Wilson disease
- Veno- occlusive disease
- Polycystic disease
- Which Tests Are Required Before Getting a Liver Transplant?
The pretransplant test usually takes upto one week. During this week the transplant team will conduct diagnostic tests, blood work, and multiple consultations as per the requirement. The tests required before liver transplant can be divided into two categories:
- Pre-liver transplant evaluation tests &Pre-liver transplant tests
- Pre-liver transplant evaluation tests
At this stage, below mentioned are the tests that might be conducted:
- Imaging scans
- Blood tests
- Diagnostic tests
- Consults and exams
Pre-liver transplant tests
At this stage for some tests, the patient would be advised fasting or take some medicines before visiting the hospital. Below mentioned are the test that might be conducted:
- Magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) of abdomen/pelvis
- Dobutamine stress echocardiogram (DSE)
- Ultrasound of abdomen/pelvis
- Electrocardiogram/chest X-ray
- Mammogram or Pap smear for women
- Other testing and blood work
These tests are suggestive for the medical teamto check the function of the liver and other systems. Also,it helps in discovering if there is any other way to treat liver disease making sure the liver transplant is not done too early.
- What Happens During the Liver Transplant Operation?
You would undergo a general test to check that you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Then general anesthesia is administered before the inscisions. An incision is made near the abdomen area by the surgeon followed by a disconnection of blood supply and bile ducts. The deceased liver is then removed and replaced by a donor liver followed by reattachment of blood supply and bile ducts.
In case you have received the donor liver by a living person then a part of the liver is taken out from the donor and placed into the patient with a similar procedure mentioned above. The liver then grows to normal size in a couple of months.
- What Complications Are Associated With Liver Transplant?
There are some significant risks involved in liver transplant surgery. These risks are associated with the procedure itself as well as the medications that are advised post-surgery like anti-rejection medicines.
Below mentioned are some complications associated with liver transplant:
- Failure of a donated liver
- Blood clots
- Bile duct complications
The Anti-rejection medications too have side effects that include:
- Bone thinning
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Only a well-experienced team of medical professionals can retract or put a stopper to such complications, just like the Ruby Hall Clinic Transplant team.
- What Are Anti-rejection Medications?
The biggest issue with liver transplant is rejection by the body. The body and its immune system considers the newly implanted liver as a foreign particle and would aggressively try to destroy it which could cause liver failure. In order to counter this, immunosuppressant or antirejection drugs are given to the patient to weaken the immune system of the body, thereby reducing the chance ofbody rejecting the implanted liver.
There are 2 kinds of anti-rejection drugs:
- Induction drugs: Powerful medicine given at the time of transplant
- Maintenance drugs: Anti-rejection drug meant for lifetime usage
Antirejection drugs have to be taken by the patient everyday without fail as missing a single dose could cause rejection. In case you miss a dose, you should immediately call your doctor.
- When Will I Be Able to Go Home After a Liver Transplant?
After the procedure, the patient is kept in an Intensive care unit (ICU) for 2 days. Once the patient’s health gets stable, he/she is moved to the transplant recovery area where you are kept under observation for a week to 10 days depending on their recovery rate. Once the doctor is convinced about the recovery, the patient is discharged from the hospital.
Ruby Hall Clinic- India’s most trusted hospital for liver transplant and care
Ruby Hall Clinic is India’s most trusted hospital offering all forms of organ transplant under one roof – including liver transplant. We provide state of the art facility that has the latest medical devices along with our team of high skilled doctorswho evaluates and treats patients with this complex disease, who are typically not considered for liver transplantation elsewhere because of factors, including age, body mass index or disease severity. The liver transplant procedure is available for both adults as well as children.