About the Surgery
The surgeon makes an incision into the abdomen and removes your diseased liver. The next step is to place the new liver into your body, which requires connecting the arteries and veins of the new liver to your own arteries and veins. The surgery takes six to eight hours and the patient can expect to stay 10 to 14 days in hospital.
If the recipient has a normal bile duct, the new liver's bile duct is connected to the recipient's bile duct. A stent, similar to a straw, is placed to prevent any blockages. If the recipient does not have a normal bile duct—a condition called primary sclerosing cholangitis—the new liver bile duct is connected to the recipient's small intestine.
It is possible to receive a portion of a living donor's liver, which will grow to full size in your body. During this kind of transplant the donor and recipient each have their own surgical team and are in adjacent operating rooms. In the donor's operating room, surgeons remove part of the liver, usually the right half or lobe. Doctors also remove some of the blood vessels and ducts that assist with the function of the liver.
In the recipient's operating room, surgeons remove the recipient's entire diseased liver and prepare to immediately transplant the donated liver segment, blood vessels, and ducts. The operation takes about 10 to 12 hours.
The liver takes two to four weeks to grow to full size for both the donor and recipient. Hospital stays for both the donor and recipient are typically 10 to 14 days.