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Risks to the Liver Recipient

Clip Number: 34 of 37
Presentation: Living Donor Liver Surgery
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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In addition to the risks you will face if you decide to be a liver donor, it's also good to be aware of the risks the recipient faces during and after the transplant surgery.
First, let's talk about the risks of having surgery in general. These are the same risks you face as a liver donor, including:
* Nausea and vomiting
* Pressure damage to the nerves and skin
* Pain at the incision site
* Minor bleeding
* Or allergic skin reaction
More serious complications can also happen as a result of liver transplant surgery, such as:
* Bile duct leaks
* Graft failure, which is when the new liver doesn't work
* Infection at the surgical site, inside the abdomen, or in the lungs
* Hernia
* Fluid buildup in the chest
* Bowel obstruction
* Spleen damage
* And death
It's also important to know that the same problem that made the recipient's liver transplant necessary - such as a tumor, a virus, or a disease of the immune system - may come back and damage the liver portion that you are donating.
In addition to the usual post-surgery risk of forming blood clots in the legs or lungs, people receiving a new liver can also form blood clots in the hepatic artery.
Additionally, the recipient's body will recognize the new liver as being foreign and 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 rejection, but it is almost always reversed with medications.
Since the recipient will be taking medications to decrease the strength of the immune system, he or she will have a higher risk of developing tumors, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain infections. The recipient will receive additional medications to prevent the more common post-transplant infections.

Living Donor Liver Surgery


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