About Liver Transplantation
Liver Transplant Options
- Why Living Donor?
- Becoming A Living Donor
- Prepping for Donation and Surgery
- Life after surgery
- Frequently Asked Questions
Liver Transplant Process & What to Expect
Liver Transplantation Patient Stories
Walter Payton Liver Center
Patient & Family Support
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Right now, more than 120,000 people are on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waitlist for an organ match to receive a transplant. Even if someone currently is on the waitlist, they aren’t guaranteed to receive the organ. In some cases, living donor transplants are the only hope for some patients to have the procedure they need done. If a patient has to wait too long, their health could start to decline and become worse. However, living donors have the opportunity to help a person in need of an organ transplant immediately.
Unlike other organs in the body, the liver has the unique ability to regenerate and is restored to its original size in the donor after the transplant. It also grows to a similar size in the recipient in about 12 weeks.
What is a Living Donor Transplantation?
A living donor transplantation is an option where instead of waiting for a matching whole liver from a deceased donor, the patient will receive a portion of one from a living donor. Thanks to the liver’s ability to regrow, a living donor is able to give a portion of their liver to the donor recipient. The liver can then grow back and continue to function properly in both the donor and the recipient. In this situation, a living donor should be an overall healthy person, both mentally and physically.
Who is a Living Donor?
A living donor refers to a healthy person who can be blood relative to the recipient is in need of a liver transplant. A living donor also can be a close, non-blood-related friend of relative that wishes to donate a portion of their liver. The living donor could be:
- Family members (parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, cousins)
- Religious group members
- Family friends
- Anonymous donors
Benefits of a living donor transplant:
Shorter Wait Time
Living donor transplants can take place much sooner and can be scheduled when it is convenient for you and your donor.
Quicker Recover Time
Generally living donor recipients recover faster than those with deceased donors.
Better Function and Quality
A section of a liver from a living donor usually is able to function better and longer.
Help save more lives
Living donor transplants can help increase the number of liver transplants and allows recipients to be removed from the waitlist. This can help to possibly shorten the time for others still waiting on a transplant.