• FAQ & Liver Donation Facts

    Frequently Asked Questions About Live Liver Donation 

    Q: What is live donor liver transplantation?

    A: Live Donor Liver Transplantation (LDLT) is a procedure in which a live donor gives a portion of his or her liver to a family member or friend in need of a liver transplant.

    Q: Who is a candidate to receive a liver from a live donor?

    A: Candidates, or recipients, are those individuals with advanced but stable liver disease who have been accepted and listed as appropriate candidates for a deceased donor liver transplant.

    Q: How can I be considered for LDLT?

    A: After being accepted and listed as a deceased donor  transplant candidate, the transplant team will review your medical information to determine whether or not Live Donor Liver Transplantation is a potential option for you.

    Q: Who can qualify as a liver donor?

    A: Live liver donors are relatives, friends or close acquaintances of the recipient. They must have a compatible blood type and body size, as determined by the recipient's height and weight. In addition, donors must be between the age of 18 and 60. They must also test negative for liver diseases and can have no serious medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.

    Q: What is the pre-donation evaluation process for donors?

    A: After initial screening blood work is received and reviewed, a potential donor is scheduled for a consult with a live donor nurse coordinator and surgeon. This consult involves a discussion of the procedure itself, including the risks associated with donation, as well as an opportunity for the donor to ask any questions.              

    Q: When would the live donor liver transplant surgery take place? 

    A: Live donor liver transplantation surgery is typically performed about 2 to 4 weeks after the donor evaluation has been completed.

    Q: How is the liver transplant surgery performed, and how long will it take?

    A: Simultaneously, two separate surgical transplant teams perform the donor and recipient surgeries. As one team works on removing the diseased liver from the recipient, the other is working on removing a portion of the donor's healthy liver. Once the portion of the donor’s healthy liver has been removed, it is immediately implanted into the recipient. The live liver donor surgery typically takes about 5 hours, and the recipient surgery is similar.

    Q: How will my family know what is happening during surgery?

    A: Our family waiting room is staffed by a nurse liaison who will provide frequent updates to the families of the recipient and donor throughout the surgery.

    Q: How long will I be in the hospital after surgery?

    A: The average donor will be in the hospital for 4-7 days. The recipient will remain in the hospital for about 7-14 days.

    Q: How long do I need to stay in the area following the surgery?

    A: The donor will need to stay in the area for approximately 1 week following discharge. The recipient will need to stay in the area for 6 to 12 weeks following hospital discharge for weekly blood work and visits to the transplant clinic. 

    Q: How long are liver donors followed?

    A: Donors must return for follow-up appointments at 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, 1 year and 2 years.

    Q: Who should I contact to learn more about becoming a live liver donor or learning more about LDLT?

    A: For further information, please contact Alicia Parrott, RN, CNOR at 781-744-2500.

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