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About Liver Donation

Cadaveric donation | Living liver donation | Life after donation

Liver for transplant can be obtained from two types of donors.

Cadaveric Liver Donation

Such donation is possible from a brain dead person whose family wishes to donate the person's organs before discontinuing life support. This situation arises only in a hospital ICU in a person after brain injury in an accident or in someone who has suffered fatal brain hemorrhage etc. In these circumstances, the whole liver can be used for an adult, and a part of it for a child. After removal from the donor (a process called liver retrieval) the liver can safely be kept preserved outside the body in special preservation solutions for 12-15 hours.

Allocation of such organs is strictly according to blood group which must match, time on waiting list and urgency of requirement.

Living Liver Donation

Liver donation is also possible from a living donor who is a relative of the recipient who can donate half his/her liver. The donor operation is entirely safe and the half liver quickly regenerates in both the donor and the recipient in a few weeks. In the first few days after operation even when regeneration is not complete, the half liver is enough to maintain normal donor functions due to the immense reserve in the liver.

To donate
  • The person must donate of his/her own free will
  • The person should be between 18-55 years and weigh between 50-85kg
  • The person must be a close relative
  • The donor and recipient blood group must match
  • The donor liver structure / function, as well as the other systems must be normal
  • Half of the donor liver must be enough in volume for the recipient

The suitability in the above respects and some other technical points is determined by the Transplant Team in Pre-transplant donor evaluation which normally takes 2-3 days.

Facts about liver donation surgery

  • Modern liver cutting techniques using CUSA have made it safe and blood less
  • Normal liver has immense reserve - nearly 70% of liver can be safely removed although much less is removed
  • Normal liver grows back very quickly - it can be restored to normal size after removal of half the liver in just 2 weeks
Life after Liver Donation

After operation, the donor will stay in hospital for 5-10 days. Another 3-4 weeks of recuperation is required at home. After that, the donor can resume normal activity (except strenuous physical exercise) and return to work 6 weeks after surgery. Sexual activity can be resumed as soon as the donor feels well enough. Heavy physical activity, sports including lifting weights can be resumed 3 months after surgery.

There are no dietary or any other restrictions, and the donor leads a completely normal life with normal liver function without any decrease in the longevity of life or any other long-term consequences.

All the donors in the author's series of patients have led a normal life after donation. None of them have died or had any major complications in the short or long-term. This is also the experience of most teams in the world undertaking such operations. However, among more than 7000 donor operations worldwide, 6 deaths have been reported which gives an expected mortality of around 0.1 %.

In a letter to the author, Manish Bhoraskar, a liver donor for his sister writes....


Dear Sir,

Liver Donation in India,Liver Donors in India,Cadaveric Liver Donation
Manish who donated half of his liver to save his sister's life,
a year after donation
Hope you are doing great. How are things at SGRH?. I am quite sure that you will be very happy to know about some of my achievements after resuming work:

1. Just after five months from the date of my surgery (6th January' 02) I went to Pachmadhi (A well known hill station of the western region). In Pachmadhi, I used to walk around 4 - 5 kms. a day in places like deep-waterfall, forests & hills. During the whole journey & stay I never felt that anything was adversely affecting me due to major surgery which took place five months back & I was very comfortable and really enjoyed myself.

2. Right from the day of resuming duty (1-March-02) I am comfortably working for 12-16 hrs. a day in addition to daily journey up & down to Pithampur, which is around 50 kms. from Indore.

3. As far as job related activities are concerned, my superiors are absolutely happy with my performance and in my performance appraisal for the whole year I was rated as "Excellent" & got a performance award from the CEO of the Company.

4. I am also very hopeful to play a cricket match in the coming season.

5. About the medicines, people got surprised when they came to know that after 20-25 days from the day of surgery, I only took multivitamin tablet (RECONIA) for some days.

6. I feel very happy to see a complete change in Swati (my sister) with the same level of zeal & enthusiasm. Nobody can imagine that just few months before she was suffering from a terminal condition.

I would be very happy if my experiences can help somebody in making up his mind for a needy person. I express my gratitude for all the things, which you have done for Swati & me and I wish you all the success for coming endeavors.

Wish you good luck!

Regards,
Manish K Bhoraskar

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Contact us
Dr. A. S. Soin, Chairman
Medanta Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, Medanta
The Medicity, Sector 38, Gurgaon,
Haryana 122001, India.
Office Tel : +91- 124-4855-222, +0124-4855-444
Fax :
+91- 124 4834111
Cell Phone : +91-88002 76222, 99992 82222, 88002 67222