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Liver Transplant

The Liver, the largest organ in your body, is located on your right side behind your rib cage. It has many functions including processing proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and breaking down toxic substances such as drugs and alcohol. The liver makes the chemical components that help your blood clot. If the liver fails, you lose the ability to clot blood and process nutrients needed for life.
The liver also excretes a yellow digestive juice called bile, which may accumulate if your liver is not functioning properly. Your eyes may become "jaundiced" or yellow or your skin may itch from the accumulated bile. Some medications help treat the symptoms of liver failure, but there are no drugs that "cure" liver failure. If your liver begins to fail, you may be eligible for a liver transplant that could involve a relatively new procedure called a "living donor" transplant.

Successful liver transplants can lead to a longer, more active life for people with end-stage liver disease. The liver, the largest organ in your body, is located behind your rib cage on the right side. It has many functions including processing proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and breaking down toxic substances such as drugs and alcohol. The liver makes the chemical components that help your blood clot. If the liver fails, you lose the ability to clot blood and process nutrients needed for life.

The liver also excretes a yellow digestive juice called bile, which may accumulate if your liver is not functioning properly. Your eyes may become "jaundiced" or yellow andyour skin may itch from the accumulated bile. Some medications help treat symptoms of liver failure, but there are no drugs that "cure" liver failure.

If your liver begins to fail, you may be eligible for a liver transplant. A liver transplant may not be recommended if you have an infection outside the liver, a medical condition that poses a problem or if you are an active substance abuser. More information is available by request on the medical center's policy regarding liver transplants for patients with alcoholic liver disease.

Your surgery may last from four to 12 hours depending on your condition. Most patients who have had previous surgeries remain in surgery longer because of scar tissue accumulation. During surgery, your damaged liver and gallbladder will be removed and replaced with the donor liver. Your gallbladder is not required and won't be replaced.

After surgery, you will go directly to the intensive care unit (ICU), usually for one or two days. Immediately after surgery, a breathing tube will be inserted to help you breathe. In most cases the tube can be removed within 24 hours after surgery.

After the Hospital
After you are discharged from the hospital, you will be seen in the liver transplant clinic at least once a week for the first month. As you improve, you will be seen less often; eventually, you will be seen once a year.