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Day of Surgery

On the morning of the surgery, you can’t take anything by mouth. However, if you do have medicines you take daily, you should bring them to the hospital; you will be instructed of which ones you are able to take on the day of surgery. Unless directed by your physician, you should avoid taking aspirin or medicines that contain aspirin for 10 days before surgery.

Once you’ve arrived and been admitted to the Same Day Surgery Suite, the day will look something like this:

  • You will change into a hospital gown, an IV will be placed in your arm, and your blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature will be checked.
  • You will meet with the donor nurse coordinator and surgeon to discuss any last-minute questions.
  • You then will be moved to the operating room. General anesthesia will make you sleep, along with antibiotics to prevent infection and a blood thinner to prevent blood clots
  • After you are asleep you will be prepped for surgery and your condition will be closely monitored. Medical equipment inserted during surgery include:
    • Intravenous (IV) lines that go directly into a vein to provide medicine and nutrients
    • A nasogastric (NG) tube that goes through your nose and down to your stomach to decompress your stomach and remove gastric fluid until your bowels return to normal.
    • A bladder catheter inserted into your urethra to drain urine from your bladder
  • On average, the donor surgery will take 6–8 hours.
  • A living donor liver transplant actually involves two overlapping surgeries between the healthy donor and the recipient.
    • A portion of the donor liver, usually the right lobe, is removed with its blood supply intact in one operating room while the recipient’s diseased liver is removed in its entirety in another operating room.
    • During the donor’s surgery, the gallbladder also is removed because it is connected to the portion of the liver being removed.
    • The healthy portion of the donor liver is sewn into place in the recipient.