If liver scarring, or cirrhosis, caused by viral hepatitis is so advanced that antiviral medication is ineffective, or if scarring has damaged the liver to such an extent that the organ is failing, NYU Langone specialists may recommend a liver transplant. NYU Langone’s Transplant Institute is one of the country’s leaders in liver transplantation. Our team ensures that every need is met before the procedure and throughout treatment and recovery.
For people who have liver cancer, our hepatologists, surgeons, radiologists, oncologists, and others work together to provide the best possible care.
Liver transplantation replaces a diseased liver with a healthy liver. Part of a liver may be donated by a healthy person, called a living donor. The donor and the person receiving the transplant must have the same blood type and their livers should be similar in size. If these criteria are met, most people have fully functioning livers after transplantation.
A liver may also come from a recently deceased organ donor, also known as a cadaveric donor. In New York State, there is a waiting list for donated livers. If doctors determine that you are eligible for a liver transplant, NYU Langone doctors help you place your name on this list. Eligibility to receive a donated liver depends on several factors, including the extent of liver disease and the likelihood that transplantation can be successful.
Doctors perform a number of tests to ensure that your body is healthy enough to accept a transplanted liver before confirming your eligibility and placing your name on the list. There is no way to predict how long it may take for a donor liver to become available. Some people may be on the list for months or years.
The liver transplant team at NYU Langone is prepared to act as soon as a liver becomes available. Just before surgery, doctors administer antibiotics through a vein as an intravenous (IV) infusion. The procedure requires general anesthesia. If a living donor is donating part of his or her liver, a team of surgeons removes that liver tissue while you are being prepared for surgery. The doctors then make an incision in your upper abdomen, remove the diseased liver, and replace it with the healthy one.
Liver transplantation is considered major surgery, and there is a risk of complications, which include your body rejecting the donated liver. In order to monitor how your body heals and ensure that doctors are ready to help you if a complication arises, most people remain in NYU Langone’s transplant unit for several days after transplantation. Our pain management specialists are available 24 hours a day to make sure you are comfortable during this time.
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