The operation - Liver transplant

A liver transplant will be carried out as soon as a suitable donor liver becomes available for you.

Before surgery

When you arrive at the transplant unit, you'll have some tests to check you're well enough to have surgery.

You'll then be givenĀ general anaesthetic (which puts you to sleep) and then taken for the operation.

The procedure

During the operation, the surgeon will:

  1. make a large cut (incision) that goes across your tummy and up towards your chest
  2. remove your damaged liver and replace it with the new one
  3. connect the new liver to your blood vessels and bile ducts
  4. close the incision with clips or stitches

The procedure usually takes up to 8 hours, but can take longer.

After surgery

After surgery, you'll wake up in anĀ intensive care unit (ICU).

While in the ICU, you may have tubes in your:

  • mouth (to help with breathing)
  • nose (to provide fluids and nutrients)
  • wound (to drain excess fluid)

These will be removed after a few days and you'll be moved to a regular hospital ward.

You'll usually be able to go home within 2 weeks.

Page last reviewed: 05/01/2018
Next review due: 05/01/2021