Types of Liver Transplantation

Around the world there is a major shortage of livers available for transplant. The organ is a very precious resource and all livers are considered for transplantation by the transplant surgeon and his team. A transplant surgery will commence only when all tests indicate that the liver is suitable for the recipient. There are two main types of Liver Transplantation - deceased donor and live donor but below you will find different scenarios under these two types of liver transplants.

At Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, in Perth Western Australia only cadaveric liver transplants are performed on adults.

Cadaveric or Deceased Liver Transplant

A liver maybe used for transplantation if the organ has been removed from someone who has died as a result of overwhelming and irreversible brain damage. This is called brain stem death.  This type of transplant requires a whole healthy donor liver. This is the most common type of liver transplant.

In some instances this may be a a split liver transplant, where the entire diseased liver is removed from the patient and donor liver is  then split into two. This allows two people to benefit from one liver. Generally, in such cases a child will share part of a liver with an adult. Following transplantation, each liver lobe will grow to form a complete functioning liver. Split liver transplants are the best possible way to treat a maximum number of patients in a society where organs are so scarce.

Live Liver Transplantation

In this kind of liver transplantation, a portion of a healthy individual's liver is removed and transplanted into the patient. The liver is the only organ in the human body which can regenerate; so the liver grows back to its original size both in the donor and the recipient. Blood matches are required and a battery of tests are required to see if the donor is fit and healthy.

Domino Liver Transplant

This type of transplant is quite rare. A liver from a transplant recipient is used for another person with end stage liver disease. These transplants are done only under specific circumstances.