A liver transplant is an operation to remove a diseased or damaged liver from the body and replace it with a healthy one.
It is recommended when the liver has been damaged to the point that it cannot perform its normal functions and is likely to fail.
Although fairly common, a liver transplant is a major operation. One of the biggest risks is that the body will reject the new organ. To prevent this from happening, you will have to take medication to suppress the immune system for the rest of your life.
The liver can become damaged as a result of illness, infection or alcohol. This damage causes the liver to become scarred, which is known as cirrhosis.
Some of the most common causes of liver damage and cirrhosis in England are:
Once cirrhosis reaches a certain level, the liver gradually loses all of its functions. This is known as liver failure, or end-stage liver disease.
The only hope for the long-term survival of a person with liver failure is a liver transplant.
There are three types of liver transplant:
Life after liver transplant
NHS Blood and Transplant recently found that around 86% of transplanted livers still function well a year after surgery.
However, survival rates can be influenced by a number of factors, including:
The long-term use of immunosuppressants can also cause a wide range of side effects and make a person more vulnerable to infection.