Becoming a Living Liver Donor: Evaluation, Risks, and Recovery

hello I am dr. Charles Rosen a

transplant surgeon at the Mayo Clinic I

would like to thank you for considering

living liver donation living liver

donation is one of the most generous

gifts of human kindness that one could

ever imagine your gift could enable

someone to undergo transplantation much

sooner than would otherwise be possible

such that they could avoid suffering and

perhaps even death on the liver

transplant waiting list we have many

patients in need of liver

transplantation and liver

transplantation is a very successful

procedure enabling people to enjoy

prolong survival with an excellent

quality of life unfortunately we just

don't have enough deceased donor livers

for everyone that needs them and many of

our patients suffer and many of our

patients die awaiting transplantation

living liver donation would enable

someone a friend or a close family

relative to live and to enjoy an

excellent quality of life as a potential

living donor you would undergo a pretty

extensive evaluation process conducted

by our team of surgeons hepatologists

social workers psychiatrists and

coordinators during this process we

would explain the entire operation to

you including the recovery the risks and

the outcome specific risks of the

operation which is a major operation

involve a wound infection and incisional

hernia bleeding by leak abscess

formation and blood clots rarely someone

can also develop problems from removal

of the gallbladder which is done during

the procedure but that is quite rare

ultimately the risk to your life is

about one in 300 we understand that the

decision as to whether or not to proceed

with living donation can be very


and during this process we will do

everything possible to protect your

privacy such that you can make that

decision by yourself

with the help of our team we will

discuss with you the recipients

situation their diagnosis their position

on the waiting list and the likelihood

that they could receive a deceased donor

liver and the recipient understands that

we will share this information with you

however we will not share any of your

information with the recipient or the

extended family such that your decision

can be made by yourself and you can do

what you feel is best for you in order

to be a living liver donor you will need

to be in excellent health in addition we

will need to make sure that your liver

anatomy is suitable for the donation

operation such that your gift would

provide enough liver for the recipient

and also leave enough liver in you such

that you could enjoy a full recovery

if you are found to be a suitable living

donor and choose to go through with the

donation process the operation is done

at the same time that the liver

transplant operation is performed for

the recipient you'd be admitted to the

hospital the morning of the operation

undergo the procedure and then be

observed in the intensive care unit

overnight you can expect to be

hospitalized for approximately a week's

time once dismissed from the hospital if

you were to stay in town for a couple of

days we would see you in the outpatient

clinic you'd be instructed to refrain

from strenuous physical activity and

heavy lifting for eight weeks following

the procedure growing back your new

liver takes a lot of energy and that

energy will come from you and so you'll

feel considerable fatigue and it will

take approximately three months time

until you feel back to normal at 3

months however you can expect to resume

all physical activities and to have

returned to work the results with living

donor liver transplantation are spectac

the likelihood that your recipient will

be alive a year later up and about and

doing the kind of things they ought to

be doing is very high well over 90%

the likelihood of you undergoing the

procedure and having a full recovery is

also very high and long-term

complications are very very rare we are

also very committed to helping you enjoy

a full recovery and return to all of

your normal activities and work after

your donation process thank you for

considering living donor liver