What Is a Liver Transplant?


Quick Answer

A liver transplant is a medical procedure wherein a failing liver is replaced with a healthy one. Common causes of liver failure include chronic hepatitis with cirrhosis, alcoholism, hemochromatosis and liver cancer, according to WebMD.

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What Is a Liver Transplant?
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Full Answer

A liver transplant is performed by removing the liver from a cut in the upper abdomen of the donor before transplantation into the recipient. It is then attached to the recipient's blood vessels and bile ducts. The operation takes up to 12 hours and requires large amounts of blood through transfusions, according to MedlinePlus.

Complete livers are donated from the recently deceased, while partial liver donations can be donated by living persons, according to MedlinePlus. Before transplantation, the liver is cooled in a saline solution for up to eight hours. Tests are then done to confirm that the liver matches with the recipient.

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