Living Donor Liver Transplant Program | Tampa General Hospital

Living Donor Liver Transplant Program

Living Donor Liver Transplant Program

Tampa General Hospital’s Comprehensive Liver Disease and Transplant Center is proud to offer liver transplant patients an exciting option in care - living donor liver transplants.

Nearly 18,000 people are on a waiting list to receive life-saving liver transplants in the United States, and thousands die while waiting every year. Previously only livers from deceased donors were used for liver transplant surgeries, but the demand for donor livers was too great. Living donor liver transplantation was developed to help meet the rising need. TGH’s Living Donor Liver Transplant program will help more patients who are waiting for a liver transplant.

Living Liver Donor Frequently Asked Questions

What is a living donor liver transplant?

A living donor liver transplant is a procedure during which a portion of the liver from a living person is removed and placed into the body of a patient whose liver has failed. The transplanted liver grows in the recipient, restoring normal liver function. The donor's liver regenerates and returns to its normal size within 6-8 weeks.

What are the benefits of a living LDLT?

There are many benefits of living donor liver transplantation, including:

  • An increased number of viable livers available to patients on the liver transplant waiting list
  • Decreased time spent on the wait list for patients
  • Flexible scheduling to complete surgery at a time that works for both the donor and the recipient
  • Improved long-term outcomes and faster recovery times for patients
  • The potential to save thousands of lives of patients with end-stage liver disease
Whose decision is it to donate?

The decision to donate an organ is serious and personal. Only you can make the decision after weighing the risks and benefits. Potential donors must voluntarily contact a transplant center and ask to speak with a donor coordinator about donation.

How is a donor evaluation conducted?

A team of medical specialists is dedicated to expertly screen people who are interested in donating a part of their liver. Donors are given detailed information so they can take the time to carefully consider what is involved. The donation experience is completely confidential and separate from the recipient’s experience. As a donor, you will have your own transplant coordinator. The recipient has a different coordinator. As a donor, you must be physically and psychologically healthy to assure you can safely donate. You must feel comfortable with your decision. If at any time you change your mind, the team will help you make a confidential withdrawal from the procedure.

What is surgery like donating part of a liver?

Both the donor and recipient are admitted to the hospital the day before surgery. The surgery takes approximately 6-8 hours. The donor recovers in the ICU for the first 24-48 hours with a total hospital stay of 5-7 days. The incision is a J-shape or hockey stick incision on the right abdomen.

Who pays for the donation?

There is no cost to the donor for required medical tests and surgery. The transplant program does not routinely cover transportation, lodging, lost wages, or other non-medical expenses. Sometimes, donors may be financially eligible for a donor grant to help pay some of these expenses. It is against federal law for a donor to be paid for his or her donation.

How will donating part of a liver affect me for the rest of my life?

Physically, you should expect no long-term problems. However, there are risks associated with any surgery and our staff will carefully review these with you. Psychologically, previous donors have communicated that donating was one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives, and they were glad to have had the opportunity to help another person. At Tampa General Hospital, we are committed to long-term follow up of all our living donors. The United Network for Organ Sharing requires that we follow up with donors for at least two years. We also follow our donors over time to be able to monitor long-term outcomes.

How long is the recovery after surgery?

The hospital stay is five to seven days. Donors have a lifting restriction of no more than 10-15 pounds for 12 weeks but can return to most other activities a few weeks after surgery. Most donors are back to work by 6 weeks, but some may return to work sooner.

Learn More

For more information about this program, call (813) 844-7137 or 1-800-505-7769, select option 4.

Living Donor Liver Transplant

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Learn more about our living donor liver transplant program from the surgeons and patients involved.