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Liver transplant

Living donor liver transplant

A major surgical procedure that replaces a diseased liver with part of a healthy liver from a living donor

About liver transplant

  1. Assessment ‒ tests may include blood tests, an electrocardiogram (ECG) and a CT scan
  2. Waiting list for a donor liver ‒ this could take several months or more
  3. The operation ‒ where your damaged liver is removed and replaced with the healthy donor one
 

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    The most common approach to a liver transplant is known as an orthotopic transplantation.

    A cut is made in your upper abdomen and your liver is removed. The donor liver will be attached to your blood vessels and bile ducts; the donor and recipient gall bladders are removed. If your bile ducts differ in size to those of the donor liver, a tube will be used to join them. This tube will extend outside of your skin for three months post-surgery. Dissolvable stitches will be used to close the wound and drains are attached to remove excess fluid, which will remain attached for a few days.

    You will then be moved to the intensive care unit to recover.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    A key step is to accept the uncertainty of the waiting list and be prepared to go for surgery with a few hours' notice.

    Once the hospital contacts you to tell you that a liver is available, stop eating and drinking immediately.

    At the hospital, you'll be given a chest X-ray and an ECG. An anaesthetist will give you an injection to help you relax. A small needle or 'canula' will be put into the back of your hand to allow the anaesthetist to give you the required drugs for the operation. You're then taken to the operating theatre where you'll be connected to machines that measure your heart rhythm and blood pressure, and you'll be put to sleep.
     
  • Afterwards icon plus

    When you wake up, you'll notice that you have a tube in your nose, and also one in your throat. You'd also be connected up to a ventilator, and machines for monitoring your condition.

    When you start breathing normally the tube in your throat will be removed and you'll be given oxygen via a mask. You'll also be given pain relief, which may continue over the next few days. You'll also have routine blood tests and chest X-rays, and receive antibiotics.

    In about two days, you'll be moved onto a ward. You should begin to eat between 1‒5 days after the operation.

    Immunosuppression and transplant rejection are usually key focus areas of your aftercare.

Don't wait, pay for yourself

You don’t need health insurance to have fast access to our top consultants, extensive range of treatments, diagnostic tests and surgical procedures at our world-class facilities.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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