A liver transplant is a life-saving procedure. It is the treatment of the last resort in severe liver diseases. The doctor may advise you to undergo liver transplant surgery when the disease advances, and the patient is not getting relief from other treatment options.
A liver transplant is a process in which a hepatic surgeon replaces the damaged liver with a new liver. The donor may either be living or deceased. The deceased donors are brain dead due to any traumatic injury in the brain or have a severe stroke. The liver of the brain-dead patient is taken after obtaining the consent of the kin. Living donor Liver transplantation is on the rise. It is because of the gap between the deceased donors and the patients requiring a liver transplant.
Selecting The Liver Donors
Not every person willing to donate a liver is eligible for donating a liver to a particular patient. Certain guidelines are in place o determine the eligibility of a liver donor. Usually, the donor should be within the age of 18 years to 55 years, should not have any underlying medical condition, and has a compatible blood matching. The doctor evaluates the donor to serve two important purposes. First, the surgery should be safe for the donor, and second, the liver should be suitable for the recipient. The donor needs to undergo a blood group matching. There is no requirement for any other immunological matching. The donor can donate to the patients who have a compatible blood type. For example, the donor with blood group A can donate to the patient with blood group A and AB, while the donor with blood group B can donate to patients with blood group B and AB. Similarly, a donor with blood group O can donate liver to the patients with blood group A, B, and AB, while a donor with blood group AB can give only to patients with blood group AB.
Retrieval Of Organ
The next step is retrieving the organ from the donor. Retrieving the liver from the deceased person is under a multi-organ retrieval process. In case of complete liver removal from the deceased, the liver can be split for transplanting into adult and child.
In the case of the living donor, the doctor may retrieve the right side of the liver for the adult patient or the left small side liver for the child. Because of the capacity of the liver to regenerate itself, the living donor can donate up to 65% of the liver. The donor liver should be at least 0.8% of the bodyweight of the recipient.
It is sometimes possible that the patients are unable to get the donated liver immediately due to various reasons. Preservation of the liver is important in such circumstances. The present technology has allowed healthcare professionals to preserve the liver for around 12-14 hours. The liver should be kept in a cold preservative solution.
Removing The Diseased Liver
Removing the diseased liver to make a place for the new liver is an important and complex process. The doctor cuts the blood vessels of the damaged liver and removes the liver from the body.
The doctor places the new liver in place of the damaged liver. The doctor joins the blood vessels of the recipient with the donor’s liver. The doctor then joins the bile ducts.
Care After Liver Transplantation
The outcome of liver transplant surgery significantly depends upon the post-transplant care. The patient and the caretakers should strictly follow the instruction of the doctor. The patients should take the medications strictly as per schedule. Never skip the medications, and do not stop the medicines of your own. Visit the clinic for a regular check-up. Take a healthy diet. Your doctor may prescribe you various medications. These include immunosuppressive drugs, pain-relieving drugs, and antibiotics to prevent infection.
Outcome Of Liver Transplant
Because of the advancements in surgical procedures and highly effective medicines, there is a significant increase in the survival of the patients after liver transplant. The one-year survival rate is 88%, while the five-year survival rate after liver transplant is 73%. There is a 50% survival rate after 20 years.
There are various steps in the liver transplantation procedure. It includes finding a donor, comprehensive examination of donor and recipient, taking the donor’s liver, preserving the liver, performing liver transplant procedure, and post-transplant care. Every step is important for the successful outcome of liver transplant surgery.