Types of liver transplant
Livers from deceased donors can be transplanted as a whole organ or split between two patients
- The majority of livers are transplanted as a ‘whole’ organ.
- Approximately 1 in 10 donated livers can be divided into two
- In these cases, the smaller left lobe of the liver is transplanted into a child, while the right lobe is transplanted into an adult of appropriate size
How are livers from deceased donors transplanted?
The majority of liver grafts are transplanted as a ‘whole’ organ.
Approximately 1 in 10 donated livers can be divided into two segments or grafts (this is known as split liver). Only livers donated from younger, slimmer, more healthy deceased donors are considered for splitting.
Why would donated livers be split between two patients?
By splitting the liver into two segments, the donated liver can be used to help two people waiting for a liver transplant.
- The smaller left lobe of the liver is transplanted into a child
- The larger right lobe is transplanted into an adult of appropriate weight and height
Splitting the liver is an efficient way to maximise the use of donated organs and is especially beneficial for children.
What are the risks of split liver donation?
In carefully selected patients, a split liver donation is just as successful as a whole organ transplant.
However, split liver grafts can carry a higher risk of blood vessel and bile duct complications. Patients tend to stay longer in hospital after split liver transplantation.
This will be discussed with you both during your assessment, at the consenting clinic and again at the time a liver is offered for you.