Living Donor Transplants

The long waiting time for a liver transplant and the progressive liver dysfunction that occurs in this time has motivated many families to consider living donation. It should be noted, however, that not all candidates are suitable for this option.  Living donor transplants in children involve transplanting a small portion of the left lobe of the adult donor’s liver to an infant. Adult to adult living donor transplant is achieved by using the entire right lobe of the donor’s liver.  Not all potential living donors are suitable for donation and extra precautions are taken by the transplant team to ensure that the decision to donate is without coercion and is unconditional.

Living liver transplant illustration used with permission from All rights reserved

The living donation operation is major surgery and requires a five to 10 day-hospitalization and two to three month period of recovery. The donor surgery has a very low risk of death. Within a few months, the donor’s liver regenerates to within 90 per cent its original size.