More than 30,000-40,000 liver transplant cases are registered across the world annually. Liver, being one of the most vital organs, are responsible for controlling various metabolic functions inside the body. Thus, liver abnormality or damage, can have serious consequences resulting in death in extreme cases. Liver plays an important role in blood circulatory system via the hepatic portal system, as well as has key role in detoxification, metabolism, blood glucose regulation, digestion (by secreting necessary enzymes and hormones), etc., making it a major organ necessary for healthy survival.
Liver transplantation involves replacing the diseased or damaged liver of the sufferer, with healthy functioning liver from another donor. Hepatic transplantation can be furnished either from a living donor or a cadaveric (deceased) donor, depending on the availability of the organ. Pivoting on the severity, candidates may require either partial or complete transplantation. As per the current statistics, approximately 85-89% of transplantation possess one-year survival rate, and 75-78% five year (short-term) survival rate.
Before availing liver transplantation procedure, the patients are evaluated for ideal candidacy to be eligible for the surgery. Thus, ideal candidates for liver transplant may be people who:
The liver transplant cost may vary from $11,200 to $40,000, and depends on a number of aspects. The deciding factors that affect the cost are:
A liver transplant surgery is conducted to remove the diseased liver and replace it with a healthy liver donated by either a living or a deceased donor. There are a huge number of people who are listed in the waiting list for a liver transplant because the availability of donated liver is limited. This is the reason why a liver transplant is an expensive procedure and is conducted only in rare cases.
A healthy liver plays an important role in the human body. It plays a key role in absorption and storage of key nutrients and medications and also helps eliminate bacteria and toxins from the blood.
However, a healthy liver may get diseased over a period of time due to many reasons. Patients with the following liver-related conditions are considered for the liver transplant procedure:
The surgery is scheduled as soon as a suitable donor, whether living or deceased, is identified. The patient undergoes the last set of tests and is prepared for the surgery. The liver transplant procedure is quite long and it takes around 12 hours for it to complete.
The patient is given general anesthesia prior to the surgery. It is administered through a tube inserted into the windpipe. A catheter for fluid drainage and an intravenous line are also placed for administration of medicines and other fluids.
The liver transplant surgeon makes an incision in the upper abdomen and the injured or the diseased liver is gradually detached from the common bile ducts and the connecting blood vessels.
The team clamps the duct and the vessels and then removes the liver. This common bile duct and the related blood vessels are now attached to the liver of the donor.
The donated liver is placed in the same location as the diseased liver after latter’s removal. Some tubes are placed near and around the newly transplanted liver to aid in the removal of fluids and blood from the abdominal region.
Another tube may be used to drain out bile from the transplanted liver into an external pouch. This helps surgeons assess whether the transplanted liver is producing enough bile or not.
In the case of a living donor, two different surgeries are performed. In the first surgery, a portion of the healthy liver is removed from the donor’s body. In the other surgery, the diseased liver is removed from the body of the recipient and the donor’s liver is placed in its position. The liver cells multiply further during the coming months to form entire liver from the piece of the donor liver.
Irrespective of whether the donated liver comes from a living or a deceased donor, the recipient requires the patient to stay in the hospital for at least one week after the surgery.
After completion of the surgery, the patient is taken to the anesthesia recovery room and then finally to the intensive care unit. After the condition of the patient stabilizes, the breathing tube for is removed and the patient is shifted to a normal hospital room.
Multiple monitoring lines are attached in the body of the patient to keep in check the stability of vital organ systems in the body. Liver transplant recovery time varies from one to eight weeks and the patient may be required to stay in the hospital during this period.
Initially, the patient is required to visit the hospital once a month after discharge to undergo a check for transplant compatibility other health-related issues. Later, the frequency can be decreased to once in a year.
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