Living Liver Donor Transplantation

Currently, over 120,000 people await organ matches on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) list, with no guarantee of receiving one. For some, especially those whose health deteriorates during the wait, living donor transplants offer the sole chance of receiving necessary procedures promptly. Unlike most organs, the liver fully regenerates in both donor and recipient, making living liver donation feasible. In this process, a healthy individual—a blood relative, close friend, or even an anonymous donor—can provide a portion of their liver, which grows back to full size and functionality.

Interested in Learning More About Liver Donation

Benefits of a Living Donor Transplant:

Shorter Wait Time

Shorter Wait Time

Living donor transplants can take place much sooner and can be scheduled when it is convenient for you and your donor.

Visiting a Patient

Quicker Recovery Time

Generally, living donor recipients recover faster than those with deceased donors.

Functions better and longer

Better Function and Quality

A section of a liver from a living donor usually is able to function better and longer.

Save Other Lives

Help Save More Lives

Living donor transplants allows recipients to be removed from the waitlist. This can help to possibly shorten the time for others still waiting on the waitlist and help increase the number of kidney transplants.

Innovative Minimally Invasive Approach for Living Liver Donors

UI Health is the first transplant center in Chicago and one of the few in the county to perform successful liver donor robotic hepatectomy for a living donor.

Robotic hepatectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that makes a C-section incision on the liver donor’s abdomen to remove the liver graft. This new, innovative approach to living liver donor surgery provides an alternative to traditional surgery and results in a variety of benefits for living donors.

Benefits of Robotic Hepatectomy

  • Reduced Pain and Recovery Time: The use of robotic technology and smaller incisions can significantly reduce postoperative pain and discomfort for the donors. This may lead to shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery times, reduced blood loss, and a lower risk of infection, enabling donors to return to their normal activities sooner.
  • Cosmetic Impact: The adoption of a C-section incision instead of a larger abdominal incision for liver graft removal not only improves the overall recovery experience but also has potential cosmetic benefits. Smaller incisions are less likely to result in noticeable scars, enhancing the overall satisfaction of donors.

Living Donor Stories

Read more about living liver donor stories from real patients at UI Health.

Liver Transplant – Raquel and Rocky's Story

Liver Transplant – Raquel and Rocky's Story

When Raquel Ramirez needed a life-saving liver transplant, her daughter, Rocky, did not hesitate to step up.

Liver Transplant – Brian and Jodey

Liver Transplant – Brian and Jodey

Brian Herberer and Jodey Seaman are lifelong friends, so when Brian needed a liver transplant to save his life, Jodey stepped up to be a living donor. Says Brian: ‘We have our future back.’.

Liver Transplant – An-All Star Team to Save His Life

A rare liver disease threatened Dave’s life, but he had the best transplant team in Chicago — and his daughter, Ashley — working to save him.