Liver transplant surgery is the utmost cure for various types of liver dysfunctions. In this surgical procedure, the diseased liver is replaced (either wholly or partially) with a healthy liver from a living or deceased donor.
Orthotopic transplantation is the most common technique for a liver transplant. During this technique, an expert removes the damaged liver carefully and replaces it by the donor organ. Then, the surgeon places the new liver in the same anatomic position as that of the original liver. Indubitably, a liver transplant is a complicated surgical process and it will only perform under the supervision of the best liver doctors in India. Many best liver hospitals in India are providing the best liver transplant in India at an affordable cost.
Why is liver transplant needed?
In case of complete failure of the liver, a doctor will recommend for a liver transplant. With liver transplant surgery, the patient may die.
- Chronic hepatitis B and C along with liver cirrhosis
- Alcoholic liver disease
- biliary atresia, liver disease in new-borns
- Metabolic disorders
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Genetic disease including hemochromatosis
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
Before performing a liver transplant surgery, the expert medical team will consider several other parameters to decide whether you actually need a liver transplant or not.
- severity of your disease
- other medical conditions that you have
- A history of tuberculosis or HIV
- Your mental well-being
- Your physical health conditions
What happens in a liver transplant surgery process?
Before the transplant
Usually, deceased donors’ livers are used to perform most of the liver transplants. Only in rare cases, living donors are used for surgeries. The donated organs are taken based on the MELD score. MELD score is the score for your liver prognosis. The patients who have a higher MELD score can get priority for a liver donation. Once the patient is allocated a donor’s liver, the patient is prepared for the surgery. All other parameters like complete blood count, liver function test etc. are checked before the operation.
During the Procedure
- Under general anaesthesia, the liver transplant surgery is performed. It can take up to 12 hours for the competition of the surgery.
- During this procedure, an expert surgeon makes a long incision under the abdomen. This helps the surgeon to get easy access to the liver. The length of the incision may vary from patient to patient.
- The blood vessels and the bile ducts that are attached to the damaged liver are disconnected. Then, the damaged liver is removed carefully by the experts. After this, the donor’s healthy liver is placed in the body and then, the expert reattached all the bile ducts and blood vessels.
- This is followed by application of the sutures and staples to close the surgical incision.
After the procedure
Once the surgery is completed, the patient is taken to the intensive care unit so that recovery can start. The patient is prescribed immunosuppressant drugs to avoid immune rejection by the external liver. The doctor may also prescribe other medications like pain-relievers, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Thereafter, the patient is counselled in detail about the new lifestyle and dietary changes that help him for a faster recovery.
It usually takes a few months for a patient to adjust with the new liver and new lifestyle. Most of the patients can resume their normal activities within 3-6 months of liver transplantation. A person should follow the below-mentioned things after getting discharged from the hospital.
- With disinfectants, the house should be cleaned properly
- Washing hand is mandatory before eating the food
- The patient should do light physical exercises like walking instead of using a wheelchair
- Oily and fatty foods should be discarded
- Red meat, partially cooked food and overripe fruits should be avoided
- Dressing should be changed after 2-3 weeks
Many medical studies have claimed that there is an 89% chance of living after one year for a person with liver transplant surgery. The 5-year survival rate is nearly 75%. You may need to do some regular blood tests to monitor your condition. According to John Hopkins, you may need to take antirejection medicines for the rest of your life. Sometimes, there are chances of recurrence of the symptoms even after a liver transplant surgery.
Risks or complications of a liver transplant
A liver transplant surgery can make you susceptible to the infection. Some other complications are,
- Damaging of bile ducts
- Blood clot
Discomfort after a liver transplant
- A patient can experience mild to moderate pain after the surgery
- Numbness of the skin
- Back pain
Medications and their side effects
The patients should take all the medications as per the doctor’s prescription. The medications are given to prevent rejection by the body, to fight infection and treat the symptoms caused by the immune-rejection. The patient must take the medications in the exact amount of dose prescribed by the doctor. If you missed any dosage, you must consult with the doctor to avoid any complication. The dosage of medications will decrease gradually as you recover.
Some Side effects of the medications
- High blood pressure and sugar
- Mood swings
- Hair loss or hair growth
- Weakness or numbness in muscles and bones
After a liver transplant surgery, you should avoid alcohol as it will not only damage your liver but also disturbs your metabolism. Always try to consume healthy fruits and vegetables which boost up your recovery process and will enhance your immunity.
This article gave you enough information regarding liver transplant surgery.
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