A liver transplant is an operation where a damaged liver is removed and replaced with a healthy liver with the help of a human donor. Liver transplant operations have become quite common, but the operation is not undertaken lightly. It is a complex operation, as the body will see the new liver as a foreign agent, and it will try to destroy it. So, it has to be done carefully.
You may need a liver transplant if the damage in the liver is up to the point that it can’t be repaired and fails completely. Your doctor may advise you to get a liver transplant if your liver is at the point of no return. Read more to get more clarity on the liver transplant process, its benefits, and its risk:
What function liver Perform in the Body
Your liver, the largest internal organ in your body, has a number of critical roles to play, including:
- Processing medicines, nutrients, and hormones.
- Making bile, which facilitates the body to absorbing cholesterol, fat, and fat-soluble vitamins.
- Creation of proteins necessary for blood clotting.
- Removing the toxins from the blood and also the bacteria.
- Eliminating infections and controlling immunological reactions
People with severe problems from end-stage chronic liver disease are typical candidates for liver transplantation as a form of treatment. In rare instances of abrupt failure of a previously healthy liver, liver transplantation may also be an option for treatment. The quantity of livers available from donors is far less than the number of patients waiting for liver transplants.
Benefits of a liver transplant
When patients are healthy enough for the procedure, a liver transplant is typically the best treatment for people with liver failure.
The main benefits of a successful liver transplant include:
- Most liver transplant recipients live longer.
- Most experience a better quality of life.
- Less risk of passing away from liver disease.
- Most people report feeling more energized.
- More likelihood of returning to regular activities like work and travel
Most transplant recipients who are eligible do extremely well following the procedure, and their new liver continues to function for many years. Generally speaking, a liver transplant results in a longer and higher quality of life than not having one. Your life should start returning to normal once you have fully healed from the operation. You should be able to engage in sports, drive, go on vacation, and go to work.
Risk involved in liver transplant
A few potential side effects from liver surgery include:
- Temporary failure of the replacement liver following surgery.
- Clogged blood vessels to the new liver.
- Bile leakage or blocked bile ducts.
The disease-fighting system in your body can also reject your new liver (immune system). A foreign object or tissue will typically cause the body to reject it. Your immune system attacks a new liver when it is implanted into your body because it perceives it as a threat.
You must consume anti-rejection medicines in order to aid the new liver in surviving inside of your body. These drugs reduce the response of your immune system. These medicines must be taken for the rest of your life. To help the transplant to be successful, you can start with hepatitis C or B medicines if you have these diseases.
Choosing a right transplant center
Your doctor might refer you to a transplant facility if a liver transplant is recommended. Additionally, you should know some basic factors given below on liver transplantation if you are thinking of a liver transplant:
- Know the variety and quantity of transplants the facility does annually.
- Enquire about the success rates of liver transplants at the transplant facility.
- Be aware of the expenses you will have to make before, during, and after your transplant.
- Take into account extra services offered by the transplant center, such as organizing support groups and helping with travel arrangements.
- Examine the center’s dedication to remaining current with transplantation techniques and technology.
How can you prepare for a liver transplant?
- A detailed explanation of the procedure will be given by the health care provider. Ask the doctor any questions you may have regarding the procedure.
- You could be asked to sign a consent document authorizing the procedure. Ask questions if anything on the form is unclear after carefully reading it.
- You should not eat for eight hours prior to surgery if you are having a scheduled live transplant. This means abstaining from meals and liquids after midnight. If your liver is from a donor who had just passed away, you should not eat and drink once you are informed about the liver’s availability.
- To help you relax before the procedure, you might be given medicine.
Based on the medical condition, your healthcare provider can give other instructions.
Recovery after liver transplant
After the transplant, you should prepare to:
- Possibly, you need to spend a few days in the intensive care unit following your liver transplant. Nurses and doctors will keep an eye on your condition to look for any issues. They will also check if your liver functions correctly and also the signs of the normal functioning of the liver.
- You need to reside in the hospital for 5 to 10 days. Once you are in a stable state, you will be brought to a transplant recovery area to continue your rehabilitation.
- You might have frequent checkups while you are residing in your home for the recovery process. You may take blood tests a few times a week for a few weeks and less often after overtime.
- You need to take medicines for your lifetime. Several drugs will be required following your liver transplant. Immunosuppressive medicines will aid in preventing the immune system from attacking your replacement liver.
Your chances for a successful liver transplant and long-term survival depend on many situations. In general, for every 100 people who got the liver transplant treatment, about 75 will live for five years, and 25% will dive after five years.
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