Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Site Search

Donor liver attachment
Donor liver attachment

Liver transplant - series
Liver transplant - series


Liver transplant is surgery to replace a diseased liver with a healthy liver.

Alternative Names:

Hepatic transplant; Transplant - liver


Liver transplants have become common operations worldwide.

A healthy liver is usually obtained from a donor who has recently died, but has not had liver injury. The donor liver is transported in a cooled salt-water (saline) solution that preserves the organ for up to 8 hours. This allows the necessary tests to match the donor with the recipient.

The diseased liver is removed through a surgical cut in the upper abdomen. The donor liver is put in place and attached to the patient's blood vessels and bile ducts. The operation may take up to 12 hours and requires that the patient receive a large amount of blood through a transfusion.

In some cases, a living donor may donate a section of liver for transplant to a family member or friend. This poses some risk to the donor because of the nature of the operation. However, the liver can regrow itself to some extent. Both people usually end up with fully functioning livers after a successful transplant.

Why the Procedure Is Performed:

A liver transplant may be recommended for:

Liver transplant surgery is not recommended for patients who have:


Risks for any anesthesia are:

  • Problems breathing
  • Reactions to medications

Risks for any surgery are:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection

Liver transplants carry major risks. There is an increased risk of infection because the patient must take medications that suppress the immune system to prevent transplant rejection. Call your doctor if your condition worsens or you have any of these signs of infection:

After the Procedure:

Liver transplants can save the lives of people who might otherwise die. Approximately 75% of patients survive 3 years or more after the transplant. Major problems with any transplant include:

  • Cost
  • Finding a healthy organ
  • Lifelong need for drugs that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressive drugs), which weaken the body's ability to fight infections
  • Transplant rejection

Outlook (Prognosis):

The recovery period averages 12 weeks.

Move your legs often to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis . Resume your normal activities as soon as possible, but check with your doctor first.


Ahmed A, Keeffe EB. Current indications and contraindications for liver transplantation. Clin Liver Dis. 2007;11:227-247.

Review Date: 5/27/2008
Reviewed By: Christian Stone, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Find What You Need

About Us
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Information
Ebola Information

Support Services

Support Groups
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:



Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100