Liver Transplant: Procedure, Qualified Candidates, Survival Rate + Other FAQs

Liver transplant is a big procedure that comes with a lot of preparation. That’s why we will be taking a look at some of the things you have to know before having a liver transplant.

Liver disease

Liver transplant happens to be one of the most common transplants done. And that’s because the liver is one of the most affected organs in the body. Well, there are chances that you’ve heard about a liver transplant but do you know what it is? It wouldn’t be a surprise if the answer to that question is no. That’s because many people don’t know what a liver transplant is all about. To help you out, we will be looking at the procedure. There are important steps that are taken before and during a liver transplant. We will be taking a look at all that. 

Also, a liver transplant isn’t just about having a liver problem. There are certain people with liver problems that are not qualified for having a transplant. We will be taking a look at them today. Also, we will be taking a look at the survival rate of people that undergo liver transplants. The truth is that so many people have so many questions on what liver transplant is all about. That’s why we will also be taking a look at some FAQs. With this, you would be able to have a better understanding of what this procedure is all about. Keep reading for more. 

Liver Transplant Procedure 

So when it comes to the liver transplant procedure, there is a lot involved. And there are certain steps you have to take. Let’s take a look at those steps. 

  • Talk to the doctor: The very first step is to talk to your doctor about liver transplant. Ask if you’re an eligible candidate for this procedure. Note that liver transplant happens to be the last option on the last. Doctors only suggest liver transplant when every other option isn’t available. But even at that, you must know that not everyone can have a liver transplant. It’s possible that if you have a liver transplant it wouldn’t be successful. But if your doctor thinks that it’s okay to have a transplant and you are okay with it, then the next step is a transplant center. 
  • Get evaluated for the transplant: After that, you would have to go through some evaluations at the transplant center. There is a transplant team that would help out with this. Usually, you would have to do this over some time. And that might require you to have to go to the transplant center at different times. This could be over a week or a month. 
  • Visit a transplant center: It’s when you go to the transplant center that you will be provided with information such as: 
    • Evaluation and approval for the liver transplant process 
    • The national waiting list 
    • The waiting period 
    • Reasons why you can be removed from the list 
    • How the selection of people for liver transplants is done 
    • Surgical procedure and recovery 
    • Long-term demands after you do the surgery such as taking medications all your life

Usually, the team would carry out tests such as: 

  • Physical examination
  • Urine and blood tests
  • Tests that check the state of organs in the body, they are called imaging tests
  • Tests that check for how well your organs are functioning

The tests done are used to determine: 

  • The severity of the condition 
  • Other diseases you have 
  • How likely is your survival after the transplant is done 
  • Get approved for the transplant: After doing all this, if you’re qualified you would be approved for a transplant. There are guidelines on who can get a transplant. And it’s usually on the website of the transplant center. Take note that it’s not compulsory to opt for a transplant even if you’ve been approved for one. 
  • Be placed on the waiting list: So just in case, you decide to opt for the liver transplant you need a donor. If you have a living donor then you wouldn’t have to be placed on this list. But if you don’t have then you would have to be on the list. When on the waiting list, there’s no telling how long it would take. You can find a donor within weeks and there are times that it would take months before you find a donor. 

Qualified Candidates 

As mentioned earlier, not everyone with a liver condition is qualified for a transplant. So who are the qualified candidates for transplant? They are: 

  • People with chronic liver disease that is irreversible and they are not responding to other treatment methods.
  • People that are tolerable to major surgeries 
  • People whose family members and support system know the risks and benefits of the procedure and understand the life-long commitment that comes after the implant. 
  • People that are financially capable of the procedure
  • Patients that have liver cancer, the different types and stages would be looked at to determine those that need the transplant
  • Patients that have an acute fulminant hepatic failure that would not recover without having a transplant done 

Survival Rate 

According to statistics, we have that people that undergo liver transplants have just about 89% chances of survival after a year. For living for 5 years after the transplant it’s 75%. There are times though that the transplant can fail, or the original liver condition would return. 

Other FAQs 

So many questions are being asked about liver transplant. We have answered some of them but let’s take a look at some other questions people ask. 

What are the risks involved? 

  • Systemic infections 
  • Severe cardiopulmonary disease 
  • Cancer affecting tissues and organs outside the liver 
  • Poor post-transplant compliance 
  • Other medical conditions 
  • Uncontrolled psychiatric problem 

What to expect after the transplant? 

Well, it would take some time for you to recover. And that’s because this surgery is a major one. Another thing you would have to deal with is the medications. There are medications that you would have to take. And some of these medications are medications that you would use for the rest of your life. The thing with the medications is that they come with some side effects that may take a big toll on the body. 

How Long Does The Operation Last? 

Well, this varies. And it varies depending on the severity of the condition. But the surgery would take about 6-12 hours. 

So that’s all we have for you with regards to a liver transplant.

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