In the process of liver transplants, a diseased liver is replaced with a healthy one. If the liver of a patient cannot carry out the regular functioning, there are chances of liver failure. At this point, doctors will advise a transplant which will enable the patient to live a normal life.
Many reasons can affect the liver functioning and raise the need for liver transplantation. If the liver fails, currently, liver transplant is the only option available to curb the disease. If a kidney fails, a patient can utilize dialysis. However, there is no such medical device which can perform the duties of a liver. Therefore, liver transplants are inevitable for people with a failing liver.
Chronic liver failures, acute liver failure, and liver cancer, are some of the reasons which may affect the liver’s functioning. Over consumption of alcohol, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, Biliary Atresia, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC), Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC) are other reasons which can result in chronic liver failure. Acute liver failure is a rarer condition than chronic liver failure. Even liver cancer is a rare kind of cancer.
Liver transplants always do not mean a whole replacement of the liver. It could be a portion of a healthy liver which will replace the diseased part of a patient’s liver. Depending upon the situation of the diseased liver, the doctor will decide whether a whole liver needs to be replaced or a portion of it. Liver transplants are a life preserving option for the people fighting with liver failure. Liver transplant gives them an opportunity to live a long, healthy life. Even after a liver transplant, a woman can conceive and have a healthy child.
Generally, doctors try to normalize the functioning of a liver by medical therapy. However, when patients’ livers stop responding to medicines and function poorly, liver transplants are advised. If a patient’s liver has reached an extent that it cannot be normalized with the help of medical therapy; then the liver transplant operation becomes unavoidable to save the life of a patient. Generally, a surgery of liver transplant can last for six to eight hours.
Once the liver transplant is done, a patient can return to his or her normal lifestyle. However, for a few months after surgery, a patient will need to undergo various tests and routine check ups to ensure the normal functioning of the transplanted liver. A patient may experience side effects of the rejection medications such as headaches, high blood pressure, nausea, and diarrhea. However, in most of the cases, these side effects last for a very small duration.