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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.
Please stop eating and drinking by midnight on the night before your operation. Your stomach needs to be empty.
You will be admitted to the hospital the morning of your operation (usually at 6:00 am). Your surgery will be performed during the day.
Surgical Admission Unit (SAU)Toronto General Hospital
Peter Munk Building – 2nd Floor, Room 310TGH Maps & Directions
All hospital entrances are open by 6 am. However, the University Ave. entrance is easiest to access.
Every effort will be made to arrange a date and time for your operation that is best for you. However, operations may be cancelled if medical issues exist with the donor or the recipient. Sometimes, there are circumstances beyond our control that may require the operation to be cancelled or postponed.
You and your family may feel shock, disappointment, and sadness when this happens. All of these feelings are normal. You should call your
transplant assessment coordinator to talk about any concerns you have about a cancellation.
Learn more about your stay
If you have any of the following symptoms please call your living liver donor coordinator or go to the nearest emergency room.
Call your living liver donor coordinator at 416 340 4800 ext. 6581
After you leave the hospital, your living liver donor coordinator will give you weekly phone call to make sure your recovery is going well.
WhenAbout 1 month after your operation
WhereAmbulatory Transplant Clinic
Toronto General HospitalPeter Munk Building – 12
th FloorTGH Maps & Directions
Please check your appointment card for location.
What to ExpectYou will be asked to have a blood test before you come to your appointment. You will meet with your surgeon to determine how your incision is healing and how well you are recovering.
When3 months after your surgery, you will see your living liver donor coordinator and/or surgeon who assessed you pre-operatively for a check-up.
WhereAmbulatory Transplant Clinic Toronto General HospitalPeter Munk Building – 12
th FloorTGH Maps & Directions
What to Expect
You will be sent a request to do a blood test 1 week before your scheduled appointment. This may be done at a lab close to your home if you live far from the hospital. You will also receive an MRI appointment time 1 week before the scheduled clinic appointment, which is done to confirm complete growth of the liver. The results of the blood test and MRI will be talked about at your clinic appointment.
Following your 3 month check-up appointment, you will be sent back to the care of your family doctor. It is suggested that you see your family doctor for a yearly liver check-up through blood tests.
The donor team will be on hand to talk about any concerns or answer any questions that you might have throughout the donation process.
To change an appointment, call the living liver donor coordinator at 416 340 4800 ext. 6581
Your primary contact will be your living liver donor coordinator at 416 340 4800 ext. 6581
If you have an emergency, please go to the closest emergency room or call 911.
Call our living liver donor coordinator at 416 340 4800 ext. 6581.
Talk to your living liver donor coordinator about email options. A consent form is required.