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Liver Transplantation

Also called: Hepatic transplantation


Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. You cannot live without a liver that works. If your liver fails, your doctor may put you on a waiting list for a liver transplant. Doctors do liver transplants when other treatment cannot keep a damaged liver working.

During a liver transplantation, the surgeon removes the diseased liver and replaces it with a healthy one. Most transplant livers come from a donor who has died. Sometimes there is a living donor. This is when a healthy person donates part of his or her liver for a specific patient.

The most common reason for a transplant in adults is cirrhosis. This is scarring of the liver, caused by injury or long-term disease. The most common reason in children is biliary atresia, a disease of the bile ducts.

If you have a transplant, you must take drugs the rest of your life to help keep your body from rejecting the new liver.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Start Here

  • (American Society of Transplantation) - PDF
  • (American Liver Foundation)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

Living With

  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)

Related Issues

  • (United Network for Organ Sharing)
  • (United Network for Organ Sharing) - PDF


  • (American Society of Transplantation) - PDF


Statistics and Research

  • (Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • (United Network for Organ Sharing)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health


  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Patient Handouts

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