About 17,000 adults and children in the U.S. are waiting for a liver donation, according to the American Liver Foundation, and some will die before they get one. However, they can increase their odds by asking friends and family members to consider a living donation.
During a living liver transplant, the surgeon removes only part of the donor’s liver and transplants it into the recipient. The tissue will regenerate, so within four to six weeks, both the donor and the recipient will have a normal or almost normal-sized liver.
Is there a downside? The chances of a complication are a bit higher because the liver and its blood vessels are smaller, making the surgery a little harder for the surgeon. However, the benefit of having more donors for a living donor liver transplant far outweighs the costs.
Listen to this week’s podcast to hear liver transplant surgeon Shawn Pelletier, MD, explain the risks and benefits of living liver transplant.