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Liver Transplant Rejection - In-Depth

Clip Number: 10 of 22
Presentation: Liver Donation Surgery -- Recovery Expectations
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Your body is equipped with a powerful defense against infections. This is called your "immune system." The immune system is able to detect unwanted invaders that have entered your body, such as bacteria and viruses. When this happens, the immune system sends in special cells that release natural chemicals to destroy the invaders. The immune system usually does a good job of keeping your body healthy.
However, the immune system can also cause some problems for the recipient. Since the recipient will be receiving part of your liver, it's likely that his or her immune system will recognize the new liver as being foreign. It may send immune cells to attack the new liver. This is called "transplant rejection," and usually happens within the first three months of the transplant. Most people experience some amount of transplant rejection, but it can usually be reversed or kept to a minimum with medications.

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