Liver Transplant

When the liver fails

The liver plays a critical role in digestion, immunity, metabolism and nutrient storage. It is also the body’s ‘chemical factory’, producing important proteins, blood cells while breaking down toxins.

 

Another of the liver’s amazing functions is that it can restore itself when damaged. However, serious diseases can irreversibly destroy liver tissue and cause liver failure. Common causes of liver failure include hepatitis B, cirrhosis, cancer and autoimmune disease. When the liver fails, it can result in a range of serious conditions like jaundice, internal bleeding, muscle wasting and a build-up of toxins in the body. A liver transplant can help patients’ suffering from these conditions, regain their health and lead productive and fulfilling lives.

  

 

The liver transplant

With new surgical techniques and effective medications, the success rate of liver transplantation is quite high. About 90% of liver transplant recipients continue to do well one year after transplantation.

 

A liver transplant can take place in several ways and the donated liver can come from either a deceased or living donor.

 

  • Transplanting the entire liver from a deceased donor
  • Transplanting a part of the liver from a living donor

 

Transplanting a part of the liver only is possible because of the liver’s unique ability to regenerate itself within a few weeks. When surgeons remove a piece of the donor's liver, the part that remains grows back quickly to its original size.

 

In adult to child liver transplant, a smaller part of the liver (the left lobe) is typically used. In adult to adult liver transplant, the larger right lobe of the liver from the living donor is used.

 

In Singapore, living liver donations can be done between relatives (e.g., spouses, siblings, parents, uncles, aunties, cousins, etc.). In deceased liver donation, the organ is retrieved from organ donors under HOTA.

 

What to expect during your transplant journey.