Adult Liver Transplantation

The liver is the largest internal organ in your body. It is located behind the lower ribs on the right side of your abdomen, weighs about three pounds and is roughly the size of a football. The liver is divided into the right lobe (65% of the liver) and the left lobe (35% of the liver).

A normal liver is soft and smooth and is connected to the small intestine by the bile ducts, which carry bile formed in the liver to the intestine. Nearly all the blood that leaves the stomach and intestines passes through the liver via the portal vein. The portal vein carries blood-containing nutrients from the stomach and the intestines to the liver. The portal vein also receives blood from the pancreas and spleen. It supplies 80% of the liver’s blood. The hepatic artery supplies oxygen rich blood to the liver and supplies the remaining 20% of the liver’s blood supply. The hepatic vein drains blood from the liver. The bile ducts drain bile from the liver into the small intestine.

The liver performs numerous complex functions each day:

  • Manufacturing and exporting important substances for the rest of the body (such as proteins)
  • Processing drugs absorbed from the digestive tract into forms that are easier for the body to use
  • Detoxifying and excreting substances that would otherwise be poisonous
  • Metabolizing alcohol
  • Regulating blood clotting
  • Aiding in the digestive process
  • Regulating transport of fat stores
  • Monitoring and maintaining the proper level of many chemicals and drugs in the blood
  • Maintaining hormone balance
  • Regenerating its own damaged tissue
  • Helping the body resist infection by producing immune factors and removing bacteria from the bloodstream

Liver transplantation is the replacement of a diseased liver with some or all of a healthy liver from another person (allograft). The most commonly used technique is orthotopic transplantation, in which the native liver is removed and replaced by the donor organ in the same anatomic location as the original liver. Liver transplantation is a viable treatment option for end-stage liver disease and acute liver failure. Numerous anastomoses and sutures, and many disconnections and reconnections of abdominal and liver tissue, must be made for the transplant to succeed, requiring an eligible recipient and a well-calibrated live or cadaveric donor match.

Each potential transplant candidate is requires to undergo a complete and comprehensive evaluation. We will work in collaboration with your doctors to complete your evaluation and monitor any changes in your liver disease and overall medical condition.