What is Liver Disease Transplant Surgery

Q. What are the most common liver diseases?

There are several types of liver disease. These include chronic hepatitis B and C, drug-induced liver disease, chronic cholestatic syndromes, liver and bile duct tumors, and alcoholic liver disease.

Q. What treatment options are available?

Medications are available to help manage liver disease. Antiviral medications can help patients with viral hepatitis. For those with liver cancer, options include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Q. When should liver transplantation be considered?

When patients are faced with end-stage liver disease. The decision to pursue a liver transplant will be made after studying a person's medical condition and current quality of life.

Q. Do I have transplant options?

A person needing a liver transplant can be placed on a waiting list for a liver from someone who has died. At Beaumont, living-donor transplant is also a possibility. In this procedure, a person donates a portion of his or her liver to the patient. A surgeon removes one lobe of the liver from the donor and uses it to replace a lobe on the recipient's liver. The new lobe will begin generating healthy tissue. Donor and recipient procedures are done at the same time.

Q. Do living-donor transplants have advantages?

Yes. The surgery can be scheduled in advance, while the recipient is still relatively healthy. There are fewer complications - and recovery is faster, with better long-term results. The procedure is safe for the donor.

Q. What is the success rate for liver transplants?

In about 85 percent of cases, liver transplants are effective.

Q. Before a liver transplant, what should I expect?

A patient is evaluated through tests to see if he or she is a liver transplant candidate. Beaumont specialists work with local and national lists to locate a donor organ. Allocation of an organ depends on urgency, time on a waiting list and blood type compatibility. Living donors are checked for compatible blood types, as well. Most liver recipients will be hospitalized for several weeks. Living donors spend about seven days in the hospital. Our doctors watch recipients closely for infection, signs of rejection and other problems.

Q. Is there any way to prevent organ rejection?

Very effective medications are available that can help prevent rejection. They suppress the immune system, inhibiting foreign tissue rejection. After a transplant, the recipient must take medications every day for the rest of his or her life.