With a liver transplant, a transplant surgeon removes the diseased liver and replaces it with a healthy liver. A transplant is possible only if the tumors are small and have not invaded nearby blood vessels. There are two types of liver transplants.
Orthotopic Liver Transplantation (OLT) involves replacing the diseased liver with a new liver from a donor who has recently died.
Living Donor Transplantation involves replacing the diseased liver with part of a healthy liver from a living person.
Currently, there are more people who need a new liver than there are actual livers available. So, most individuals are placed on a transplant waiting list. While on the waiting list, patients will be regularly monitored and the transplant team will continue to provide other treatments, such as surgery, embolization, or ablation as appropriate (see Treating Liver Cancer).
After liver transplant surgery, the transplant team will monitor how well your body is accepting the new liver. Pain medications will be given while you’re in the hospital and drugs called immunosuppressive agents will be prescribed to prevent your body's immune system from rejecting the new liver. It is very important for transplant recipients to closely follow the instructions from the transplant team for the greatest success.
FAQs About Liver Transplants
Review our webpage on the most Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about liver transplants.