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Liver Donation

Liver donation is broadly of two types, the same are described as follows:

Cadaveric Liver Donations

Liver donation taken from a brain dead person is known as a Cadaveric donation. It is done only if the family of the deceased readily donates the organs of the person before discontinuing life support. This can be done by persons who have suffered brain injury after a fatal accident, or after a fatal brain hemorrhage and the person in the hospital survived by life support systems. But the liver should not have been damaged in such accidents. After liver retrieval from the donor the liver is preserved in special preservation solutions. It can be preserved like this for 12-15 hours. The liver transplants are strictly done only if the blood group is matching. And allocation of such organs is strictly on the urgency of the requirement and the waiting list of patients.

Living Liver Donation

Apart from getting a liver donation from a brain dead person, a donation is also possible from a living person who is ready to donate half of his/her liver. Preferably the donor should be a relative of the patient. The liver donation operations are very safe as also the half liver regenerates quickly in both the donor and the recipient in not more than a few weeks. Even though the half liver can also perform all liver functions properly because of the immense reserves available in the liver.

In order to donate his/her liver, the donor must fulfill following criterions:
  • The donation must be by his/her own will and not forcefully
  • The age should be between 18-55 years and weigh should be between 50-85kg
  • The donor must be a close relative of the patient
  • The blood group of the donor and recipient must match
  • The donor should have a normally functioning liver, as also his other systems should also be in proper working conditions.

Facts about liver donation surgery

  • A normal and healthy liver has immense reserve to such an extent that nearly 70% of liver can be safely removed, although only a small part is used for donation.
  • The healthy liver grows back very rapidly , i.e. it can restore its normal size in about 2 weeks after donation.
  • Modern liver cutting techniques are totally safe and bloodless as they use the CUSA technique.

Life after Liver Donation

After the liver donation surgery takes place, the donor needs to stay in the hospital for about 5-10 days for healing, and thereafter a rest of 3-4 weeks is required for proper recuperation. Post this period the donor can resume the normal activities but should avoid strenuous physical exercise. Heavy exercising and weight lifting and other such activities can be undertaken after 3 months of the surgery.

There are no restrictions in the diet, as the liver functions normally even if half of it has been donated. There is no decrease in the longevity of life nor does the surgery have any other long-term consequences.

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