Let’s face it- if you need a liver or are thinking of donating it, you must have many questions in mind. Who can be an eligible donor? How much does it cost? What are the risks? And much more. In this article, we will discuss everything you should know about living donor transplants. So, let’s get started.
What is Living Donor Transplant?
Living donor transplant is a surgical process. It involves taking out a liver part that is no longer functional. The surgeon replaces that part with a healthy liver from a living donor. It is a bit different from the traditional liver transplant in India method, as it doesn’t involve removing the entire liver.
Benefits of Living Donor Transplant
Living donor transplant has many benefits. These benefits are:
No waiting list – This is a faster process of transplant as it doesn’t require waiting. This transplant can be done before you have a severe health problem.
Heal Faster – Besides this, a living donor transplant takes less time to heal than a traditional transplant. Moreover, you don’t need to be on dialysis or a blood transfusion after the transplant.
Better Results – If a liver comes from a living donor, odds are, your liver can last longer. People who get a liver from a living donor live longer than those who received it from a deceased donor.
Who is the Right Candidate for Living Donor
Generally, donors can be family members or friends. However, you can still donate your liver to some random person. That is known as an anonymous or non-directed live liver donation. But to become a donor, one has to meet the following criteria.
- Must be 18 years old
- In good health condition
- Don’t have any severe health issue
- The body mass index must be less than 35
- Blood type should match with the group of recipients
- Don’t have substance abuse or alcohol addiction.
Also, if you have tested COVID-19, you can’t donate a liver. It is illegal for the National Organ Transplant Act. So, if you want to donate during a pandemic, it is important to get tested for COVID-19.
Risks Associated with Living Donor Transplant
A living donor transplant is safe for the donor and life-saving for the recipient. However, there are certain possible risks too with living donor transplants that your doctor will discuss with you before the surgery. Although it is rare for recipients and donors to die, there are a few possible risks. These are:
- Bile leakage
- Blood Clots
- Bacterial Infection
Preparation for Living Donor Transplant Surgery
If you are all set for your surgery, you must know what it includes. So, the following are the before, during, and after transplant guides that may help you.
Before the Surgery
Your health care team will closely monitor you, including a preoperative transplant coordinator. They will advise you to completely quit drinking, smoking, and using recreational drugs. Make sure to ask your doctor how long you should prevent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin.
During the Surgery
The surgeon makes a long cut in the belly of the donor. Then take out part of the right or left side of the liver. However, that could be just 25% to 60% of the organ. This surgery takes 4-6 hours to complete. The surgeon makes a long cut in your belly if you are the recipient. They will remove the damaged part of your liver and replace it with the healthy one. The surgeon will connect arteries, veins, and bile ducts to the donor’s liver. This process takes 6-12 hours to complete.
After the Surgery
After the surgery, the recovery takes around two weeks. It depends mainly on your health prior to the transplant. At first, you will be shifted to the Intensive Care Unit as you recover from the surgery. The liver transplant team monitors you carefully. The transplant team gives you anti-rejection medicines and hydrating fluids through an IV. You can also have a tube in your urethra that lets pee drain out from the bladder. Anti-rejection medications help suppress the natural response of your immune system to allow your body to accept the new organ.
Length of stay in the Hospital
A liver transplant donor has to stay for around a week in the hospital. At the same time, recipients stay closer to a week and sometimes maybe longer. Whether you are a donor or a recipient, you have to spend your first night in the surgical intensive care unit of the hospital. Nurses and doctors can keep a close eye on you during that time, ensuring you don’t have any issues.
The recovery time of recipient and donor varies greatly. The donor gets better in 3-6 weeks. The health care team will inform the donor when it is safe to get back into their normal life. On the other hand, it takes 3-6 months for the recipient to recover. However, it depends on numerous factors like your health, age, and more.
If you still want to know about living donor transplants, Lyfboat has got you covered! You can book a live consultation and see how the team helps you with the right hospital, surgeon, treatment, and affordable packages.