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Living Donation

The Benefits and Risks of Living Liver Donation

Advances in liver transplant surgery now allow people to donate part of their liver to help someone in dire need of transplant.

Our transplant team will discuss, in detail, the benefits and risks of living-liver donation during your pre-donation evaluation.

If, at any time, you feel uneasy, we'll stop the liver donation process.

What are the Benefits of Living-Donor Liver Transplant?

There are many benefits of living liver donation, including:

  • Living-donor transplant helps save the lives of people with end-stage liver disease. And it increases the number of livers for people on the transplant waiting list.
  • Liver donors can feel good knowing that they've had a huge impact on another person’s life.
  • Liver donors and transplant recipients can schedule surgery at a time that works for both people.
  • Flexible scheduling allows the transplant to occur sooner. This can save valuable time spent on the liver transplant waitlist and reduce the risk of the liver disease from getting worse.
  • Because they are receiving a portion for a healthy donor's liver, recipients have improved long-term outcomes and quicker recovery times.

What Are the Risks of Living-Donor Liver Transplant?

Surgery of any kind carries basic risks. It might ease your mind to know that UPMC’s renowned liver transplant surgeons have experience with complex cases. This knowledge allows us to reduce the risks of complications during liver transplant surgery.

It is on a rare occasion that a complication would occur during living-donor liver transplant that would require further corrective surgery or medical treatments.

Some risks of living-donor liver transplant may include:

  • Bile leakage — this occurs in a small subset of liver donors and most often resolves itself. Doctors can also aid the healing process by placing a tube in the liver.
  • Infection — some liver donors may get an infection at the site of surgery. If this happens, our transplant team will watch over your condition to reduce health issues.
  • Organ damage or other problems — liver donation can also cause organ damage, further complications, or even death in very rare cases.

Learn More About Living-Donor Liver Transplant

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