How does living donor liver transplant work?

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Some transplant centers perform living donor liver transplants. If you are considering donating a part of your liver to a friend or family member, contact the person's transplant center for more information. If the transplant candidate does not yet have a transplant center, contact centers in the candidate's area for information.

Donating a section of a liver is riskier than kidney donation, and much less common. Transplanting a piece of the liver works because the liver regenerates itself in both the donor and recipient after transplantation.

Besides being in excellent physical and psychological health, the liver donor must undergo extensive examinations and testing. A radiological imaging of the liver is done to assess the anatomy, liver volume and size. A liver biopsy may be performed.

Most often parents donate a piece of a liver to a child. Adult-to-adult live liver transplant is still relatively rare.

It is recommended that you talk to your transplant center about its experience and success rates, which can give you critical information to help you make a decision. You can find statistics and information about living donation on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) web site at www.transplantliving.org.

The anatomy of the liver allows it to be divided and a portion transplanted into another individual during a living donor liver transplant. The liver has the unique ability to grow and regenerate after a segment is removed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.