What is liver transplantation?
Liver transplantation is replacement of the diseased liver of a patient with a completely or partly healthy liver of another person. Liver transplant should be made by an experienced specialist team in a well-equipped hospital. Liver transplant is not only a process of transplant. It is very important to have a collaborative work of the operation room, laboratory, imaging and intensive care units, patient rooms and other branches for the preparation and tracking process after the transplantation.
On which diseases is liver transplantation applied?
Liver transplant is the only treatment of chronic liver failure. It means replacement of diseased liver with a durable liver. Cirrhosis forms the disease group which contains most of the liver transplantations. This is followed by some innate diseases and liver tumour.
The disease of liver failure which necessitate liver transplant occurs in two ways.
Acute liver failure may develop in days and weeks. The most frequent reason of it mushroom poisoning and usage of some medications. On the other hand, chronic liver failure may develop because of cirrhosis, hepatitis B and C, biliary tract diseases, some nutritional deficiencies, genetic diseases, excessive usage of alcohol, hemochromatosis (a genetic problem which causes excessive iron absorption) or metabolic diseases. In this situation, liver transplant can enable the patient to reach a healthy life again.
What are done before liver transplant?
There is a vital assessment and preparation process for patients who are decided to have transplantation. The conformity for transplantation should be assessed first. The other systems like heart, lungs, and kidneys should be tested and blood count is made, finally the infection risk is eliminated beforehand. Then the patient should be prepared psychologically and mentally. For this reason, the patients and their families are informed about the procedure, staying at hospital, possible course after the surgery, monitoring and care. After all these, the patient is put on the list of waiting for a transplant from a cadaver. If any relative is compatible with blood group, this person is assessed for transplant, and the transplant is planned if all the values are suitable.
How is liver transplant applied?
An organ is needed for transplant and source or organs are humans in this case. The organ may be taken from departed persons or living donors among the relatives of patients. Relatives of people who have cerebral death may decide organ donation, and this decision rescues life of many persons. The transplantations done via this process are named as “cadaveric liver transplantation”. Because organ donations are not sufficient, many patients lose their lives while waiting for a new liver. As a solution, a piece of liver may be taken from another living organism (like a relative of the patient) to save the life. This is named as liver transplant from a living donor. For this, a relative of the patient should be willing to have such an operation. The candidate is assessed and evaluated comprehensively. If there is no problem, part of the liver is taken according to the weight of the patient (left or right) and planted in place of the diseased liver.
Aim of liver transplant is to restore persons back to their normal, active, productive life. Both the donors and patients are aimed to return their performance before the operation. The liver transplants executed in our centre have reached numbers above world success standards.
What should be kept in mind after a liver transplant?
After the transplant, the patients are tracked in an intensive care unit for a while and then taken to a patient room. After 10 days of treatment, they are discharged by being informed about some important issues to be kept in mind at home. Like the other organ transplants, liver transplants also have a risk of organ rejection. To prevent this, people have to take immunosuppressive medications for lifetime. In spite of this, sometimes there could be indications of organ rejection. The important points to keep in mind for the patients are:
- Taking the lifelong immunosuppressive medications regularly is the paramount rule.
- Hygiene has an enormous importance after the transplant. General body cleaning, washing hands with soap and water especially before and after eating, changing towels daily, keeping nails clean, changing pads and tampons during periods for women, brushing teeth at least twice a day are among the basic rules which are ranked as the 2nd after the correct usage of medication.
- Regular and healthy diet should be a lifestyle.
- Sun should be avoided during hours which are also dangerous for everyone.
- Regular exercise should be part of life.
- Alcohol and smoking should be abstained for the lifetime.
- The vaccines which are recommended by your doctor should be applied in time without neglect.
Why should I have liver transplant in Memorial Health Group?
Not only dealing with organ transplantation within surgical process but also via the cooperative work of laboratory, imaging units, operation room, intensive care and patient rooms, Memorial Health Group Liver Transplantation Centres are a reference point all over the world. Because organ donation is not in sufficient level, transplantation rate from living donors are about 80 per cent. This situation enabled Turkey to be in the first rank among the countries where transplantation from a living donor can be made. For this reason, Memorial Liver Transplantation Centres also provide services as international training centres. Every year, surgeons from notable hospitals all around the world and top-ranked universities of Turkey have been attending the training programs held by Memorial Liver Transplantation Centres to learn about organ transplantation. In Memorial Liver Transplantation Centres which lead the way in Turkey and entered into medical literature with the executed surgical operations, bloodless liver transplants also have been applied. The success rates are quite high in liver transplantations. Patients are monitored during and after the surgical process with a tremendous diligence and care.