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WHAT IS A LIVER TRANSPLANT PROCEDURE AND WHEN IS IT DONE

The liver is an essential organ in the body that not only contributes to the digestive system but also produces protein essential for blood clotting. It is the largest gland in the human body that activates enzymes, stores essential nutrients and excretes bilirubin, cholesterol and other hormones.

At any given time, if the liver fails to perform any of these essential functions, it may have to be replaced. This is when a liver transplant is performed.

When to opt for a Liver Transplant?

The key reason for a person to go for a Liver Transplant is when the liver fails or is almost on the verge of failing. Medicines are usually provided to prevent or cure the symptoms of liver failure, however, there isn’t a medication available to cure a liver failure.

Reasons for Liver Failure

 

Some of the common reasons for a liver failure include:

  • Consumption of Alcohol for a prolonged duration
  • Malnutrition
  • Consumption of cholesterol high food
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hemachromatosis or excessive absorption of iron

Liver failure can also be caused due the side effects from certain medications, unlikely intake of poisonous mushrooms or an overdose of a medicine chemical.

The liver tends to swell up and cause extreme pain in the abdomen and requires attention at the earliest.

Symptoms of Poor Functioning Liver or Liver Failure

The symptoms of an unhealthy liver or a liver failure include:

  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • Excessive pain in the right side of the abdomen
  • Swelling up of the abdomen
  • Persistent feeling of fatigue and weakness
  • Feeling of nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of weight

Liver Transplant Procedure

A healthy liver has two lobes, one forming 60% of the liver and the other forming 40% and any one lobe can be used to transplant a dysfunctional liver. The donors for a liver could be deceased or living. A living donor can maintain liver health even after donating one part of the liver. The liver eventually grows for both the donor and recipient after the transplant. A deceased donor’s liver can also be used for transplant depending on the blood type and it’s health condition. It may take a while till the recipient receives a liver from a deceased donor or may have to wait for a willing living donor as well.

Complications in a Liver Transplant Procedure

Some other complications that may arise during the procedure include:

  • Rejection of the Transplant
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood Clots
  • Leaks in the Bile Ducts
  • Failure of the transplanted liver
  • Seizures or collapse

Liver transplant should be opted for only after weighing all available options and treatments. Although effective, it may not be the solution if even a small complication arises for either the donor or the recipient. Before rushing to decision, it is best to consult doctors and get their recommendation to ensure that the taken measure is most beneficial for the person looking to opt for a liver transplant surgery.

 

References:

https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/liver_transplant/signs_and_symptoms.html
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/liver_transplant/article_em.htm
http://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/hepb-guide/digestive-diseases-liver-transplantation#1
http://www.medicinenet.com/liver_disease/article.htm

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