Benefits and risks of a liver transplant

How a liver transplant can help and problems that might occur

Key points

  • A liver transplant is the best treatment for some patients with end-stage liver disease
  • Most people who have a liver transplant do very well
  • However, not every patient feels better or lives longer after having a transplant
  • There can be serious risks from the surgery and the transplant medicines

What are the benefits?

In selected patients, a liver transplant is usually the best treatment for liver failure in patients who are fit enough for the operation. 

Main advantages of a successful liver transplant:

  • Most liver transplant patients live longer
  • Most enjoy a better quality of life
  • Less chance of dying from liver disease
  • Most people say they have extra energy
  • More likely to return to normal activities such as work and travel

Learn about the benefits of liver transplants

What are the risks?

A liver transplant requires complex surgery and can cause problems for some patients.

Main complications of a liver transplant:

  • It is a major operation and comes with surgical risks, like bleeding
  • Infections and bile duct complications are common after a liver transplant
  • You will need to take strong medicines to suppress your immune system
  • You may need further surgery to fix any problems
  • It is possible that the transplanted liver doesn’t work properly

Learn about the risks of liver transplants

Average survival statistics 

93 out of 100

Patients are alive one year after a liver transplant*

83 out of 100

Patients are alive five years after a liver transplant*

Discuss your options with your doctor

If you’re considering a liver transplant, your first step is to talk to your liver doctor. 

If you and your doctor agree a liver transplant may be a good treatment for you, they will arrange for you to have a series of tests.

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