According to Johns Hopkins researchers, individuals who donate a portion of their liver for live transplantation usually recover safely from the procedure and can expect to live long, healthy lives. The study is published in the journal Gastroenterology.

Transplantation is the only treatment currently available for end stage liver disease. Individuals with liver failure require a functioning liver in order to survive. The liver is an organ that regenerates itself relatively quickly. This allows surgeons to remove a small portion of the liver and transplant the segment into the recipient. Once transplanted, the segment grows large enough to carry out its vital roles in metabolism, blood detoxification, and digestion.

Furthermore, donors are able to survive with a smaller segment of their own liver, due to its regenerative ability.

Kidney donation is less complicated and donors are left with one healthy intact kidney. Individuals are generally able to survive with just one kidney.

However, live liver donors may need a transplant to survive if their liver is not healthy enough after donation to get through the regeneration process.

“For many, the risk of dying on the waiting list is higher than the chance of getting a deceased donor transplant. For the right patients, with the right needs and the right donors, live donor transplantation can be the best treatment option, and this study reassures us that the risk of a catastrophic complication remains low.”


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