Our UHN programs and services are among the most advanced in the world. We have grouped our physicians, staff, services and resources into 10 medical programs to meet the needs of our patients and help us make the most of our resources.
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As a living liver donor, we encourage you to ask questions about the donation process. Our guide offers the answers you're looking for, and helps you prepare for your operation.
Living donors can provide their right liver and just over one quarter of their left liver, or left lateral liver segment to the recipient. The type of surgery that will be recommended will depend on many factors that will be discussed with you.
A 5 to 10 inch incision (cut) is made either, below your right rib cage or straight down the middle of your abdomen. The operation is the same no matter what part of the liver is removed. The operation begins with a reassessment of your abdominal anatomy. Your gallbladder is removed to inject dye to re-check bile duct anatomy. There are usually no ill effects from removing your gallbladder; it is not an essential organ for your body to have.
Your liver is then divided leaving sufficient length of bile ducts and blood vessels in the graft (donated portion of liver) to re-connect in the recipient.
The portion of the donated liver is then removed from your body, and another x-ray of your bile ducts is done to make sure your remaining bile ducts are intact. Dissolving stitches are used to close the incision.
This operation lasts about 5 to 8 hours and the hospital stay is usually 5 to 7 days. The liver grows back quickly and is restored to normal liver size by one year. Most of this growth occurs within 6 weeks. Liver function is normal within 2 weeks after donation.
If something is found that may put your safety or the recipient's safety at risk, your liver will not be removed. This happens less than 3% of the time (small chance) in our program.
Read our guide below to learn more about your living liver donor surgery, or click on the topic that matters most to you. If you have questions or need more information, talk to our transplant assessment coordinator.