Liver transplant cost in South Korea

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. 

What is Liver transplantation?

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.

Ideal Candidates for Liver Transplant 

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:

  • Biliary cirrhosis
  • Suffer from Hepatitis type B or C
  • Damaged liver due to excessive alcohol consumption
  • Fatty liver condition
  • Liver cancer 
  • Sclerosing cholangitis
  • Autoimmune diseases 
  • Other end-stage liver damaging diseases.

Factors affecting the cost of Liver transplant surgery

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:

  • Type of disease that affects the liver
  • Extent of damage
  • Type of transplantation surgery required
  • Availability of healthy liver for donation
  • Country where the transplantation procedure is being availed
  • Multispecialty hospitality where procedure is being performed 
  • Proficiency and experience of the surgeons performing the operation
  • Duration and extent of post-operative care required
Treatment and Cost

50

Total Days
In Country

2 No. Travelers

10 Day in Hospital

40 Days Outside Hospital

Treatment cost starts from

USD 250000

Hospitals

About the Liver transplant

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 on 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.

Qualifications for Liver Transplant Recipient

A healthy liver plays an important role in the human body. It plays a key role in the 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:

    • Acute liver failure triggered by drug-induced liver injury among other reasons
    • Chronic liver failure or end-stage liver disease due to liver cirrhosis
    • Hepatic tumour or cancer
    • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    • Alcoholic liver disease
    • Chronic viral hepatitis
    • Diseases causing liver failure
      Some of the leading reasons that contribute to liver cirrhosis include the following:
    • Diseased bile ducts that carry the bile juice from the liver and small intestine to the gall bladder
    • Hemochromatosis, which is a genetic problem where the liver tends to build up iron undesirably
    • Wilson’s disease wherein the liver accumulates copper by itself
    • Biliary atresia in children, a condition wherein an infant is born without the bile ducts or has the ducts blocked or damaged
    • Liver cancers such as cholangiocarcinoma, hepatoblastoma, or hepatocellular carcinoma

 Liver Disease Symptoms

The patients with liver disease may experience the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Muscle and weight loss
  • Black stools and vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Problems with blood clotting
  • Confusion and forgetfulness
  • Build up of fluids in the abdomen

How is Liver transplant performed?

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.

What happens in a liver transplant?

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.

Recovery from Liver transplant

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.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors affecting the cost of Liver transplant in South Korea?

Different hospitals have different pricing policy when it comes to the cost of Liver transplant in South Korea. The top hospitals for Liver transplant in South Korea covers all the expenses related to the pre-surgery investigations of the candidate. The treatment cost usually includes the expenses related to hospitalization, surgery, nursing, medicines, and anesthesia. Extended hospital stay, complications after the surgery or new diagnosis may affect the overall cost of Liver transplant in South Korea.

Which are some of the best hospitals in South Korea for Liver transplantt?

There are many hospitals across the country that offer Liver transplant to international patients. The following are some of the most renowned hospitals for Liver transplant in South Korea:

  1. Asan Medical Centre
How many days does it take to recover post Liver transplant in South Korea?

After Liver transplant in South Korea, the patient is supposed to stay in guest house for another 50 days. This time frame is important to ensure that the surgery was successful and the patient is fit to fly back.

Which are some of the other popular destinations for Liver transplant?

South Korea is considered to be one of the best places for Liver transplant in the world. This is because of the availability of some of the best doctors, advanced medical technology and good hospital infrastructure. Some of such countries are:

CountryCost
IndiaUSD 27000
IsraelUSD 350000
SingaporeUSD 290000
TurkeyUSD 50000
How much are the other expenses in South Korea apart from the cost of Liver transplant?

Apart from the Liver transplant cost, there are a few other daily charges that the patient may have to pay. These are the charges for daily meals and accommodation outside the hospital. The per day extra expenses in South Korea per person are about USD 50 per person.

Which are the best cities in South Korea for Liver transplant Procedure?

There are many cities that offer Liver transplant in South Korea, including the following:

  1. Seoul
How many days does one have to spend in the hospital for Liver transplant in South Korea?

The patient is supposed to stay at the hospital for about 10 days after Liver transplant for monitoring and care. This phase is important to ensure that the patient is recovering well and is clinically stable. During this time, several tests are performed before the patient is deemed suitable for discharge.

How many hospitals offer Liver transplant in South Korea?

There are more than 1 hospitals that offer Liver transplant in South Korea. These clinics have propoer infrastructure as well as offer good quality of services when it comes to Liver transplant Also, these hospitals follow the necessary guidelines as required by the medical associations for the treatment of Liver transplant patients.

Who are the best doctors for Liver transplant in South Korea?

Some of the best medical specialists for Liver transplant in South Korea are:

  1. Dr. Yang Won Seok
  2. Dr. Kim Soon Bae
  3. Dr. Jung Hee Lee
  4. Dr. Hwang Shin
  5. Dr. Lee Sung Gyu
  6. Dr. Kyoo Hyung Lee

FAQ's Related to South Korea

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in South Korea?

Korea Institute for Healthcare Accreditation (KOHIA) and Commission International (JCI) are the two main healthcare accreditation bodies in South Korea. JCI has a strong framework for quality standards that accredited hospitals need to follow and there are about 29 JCI certified hospitals in South Korea. KOIHA evaluates a healthcare facility based on parameters, such as performance management, administrative management and quality of patient care. JCI and KOIHA certified hospitals need to follow the standards that require strict monitoring of all critical events so that quality care is ensured.

Why should I opt for healthcare in South Korea?

With advanced infrastructure and most advanced medical technologies in place, South Korea is one of the leading medical tourism destinations in the world. South Korea has world-class hospitals with highly-trained doctors who strictly follows the medical protocols to ensure safe treatment with a high success rate. South Korea is actively involved in healthcare innovations which helps the country offer a wide range of procedures at an affordable cost. Some other factors which contribute to the growing popularity of South Korea in medical tourism, are a wide range of food options, scenic value, affordable accommodation, visa availability, transportation facilities, and language assistance.

What is the quality of doctors in South Korea?

The highly-trained doctors in South Korea are globally recognized for their patient-centric approach to handling complex cases with a high success rate. The well-qualified doctors have received education from reputed universities and have recorded high success rates throughout their career. The doctors strictly follow medical protocols and adhere to international standards to ensure quality treatment and complete patient satisfaction. The doctors focus on preventative medicine to check complications and believe in treating patients with a human touch.

When traveling to South Korea for medical treatment, what essential documents do I need to carry along?

You should check with the concerned authority for any extra documents required because every country has its own documentation policies. In order to make sure that you do not miss any essential documents, make a list of all the documents you might need during your stay in South Korea. You might also need some other documents like travel insurance paper, currency/forex card, and international SIM card. When you are traveling to South Korea for medical treatment, you should carry essential documents like test reports, records, doctor referral notes, medical History, passport copies, residence/ driver’s license/ bank statement/ details of Health insurance.

What are the popular procedures available in South Korea?

Some of the popular procedures available in South Korea are:

  1. Forehead Augmentation,
  2. Eye-Widening Surgery,
  3. Jaw Reduction Surgery,
  4. Double Eyelid Surgery,
  5. Liposuction,
  6. Facial Plastic Surgery,
  7. Rhinoplasty,
  8. Hair Transplant, and
  9. Chin Augmentation

. With the highest number of plastic surgeries per capita on earth, South Korea has a large number of plastic surgery clinics spread all over the country. Other most sought-after procedures available in South Korea are hip and shoulder replacement, cancer treatment, organ transplant, and cardiovascular surgeries. South Korea has also made major advances in cancer treatment and the latest technology used to remove cancer cells are robotic surgeries and proton therapies.

Which are the most popular cities in South Korea for medical treatment?

Some of the most visited cities offering quality treatment in South Korea are Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Cheonan, and Cheonan. There are several factors that help make these cities popular for seeking treatment, such as top-notch hospitals, superior infrastructure, and highly experienced doctors. Transportation facilities, affordable accommodation, more food options, and language assistance are some other reasons why these cities are more preferred by medical tourists. Seoul has the world’s highest per-capita rate of plastic surgeries and Gangnam district boasts some 500 cosmetic and aesthetic centers.

How to obtain a medical visa for South Korea?

The process of obtaining a medical visa in South Korea is very stringent and is done under the strict supervision of the South Korean embassy. The candidate needs to produce all necessary papers citing the medical cause and the referral certificate signed by the registered medical expert. A medical dependent visa is given to people who are accompanying the patient traveling to South Korea for medical treatment. You need to also produce relevant letters/documents with details of the treatment, signed by the doctors and hospitals, and a declaration form signed by the patient or any family member.

Which are the popular multispecialty hospital groups in South Korea?

South Korea boasts of having top-quality multispecialty hospitals, such as:

  1. Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul;
  2. Asan Medical Centre, Seoul;
  3. ID Hospital, Seoul;
  4. International St. Mary's Hospital, Seoul and,
  5. Wooridul Hospital Seoul, Seoul.

The multispecialty hospitals in South Korea are equipped with the most advanced equipment and the latest medical technologies and are supported by high-end infrastructure to provide world-class treatment. The hospitals adopt a patient-centric and holistic approach for providing world-class treatment and strictly comply with healthcare standards and protocols to ensure quality. With a wide range of specialities, the hospitals have reported high success rates with the help of highly-experienced doctors who are capable of performing even the most complex surgeries with high accuracy and precision.