By Dr. Sandeep Jha, Surgical Gastroenterology
The liver performs the vital task of filtering the blood before it is passed to all parts of the body. A problem in this organ is, therefore, quite severe and can even be fatal. In cases where the liver is damaged beyond repair, transplanting it is the best solution. However, here are some risk factors that you should be aware of, if you are about to undergo a liver transplant surgery.
With any transplant surgery, some risk factors need to be kept in mind. In case of liver transplant, you should consider the following.
1. Rejection of the organ
Organ rejection is common and occurs when an infection afflicts the patient due to the introduction of a foreign liver into the body. To minimize the chances of rejection, the patient’s blood type and other features are matched with that of the donor. However, even in case of perfect matches, the body’s immune system may attack the transplanted organ after the surgery is completed.
To minimize rejection chances, specific medications are administered to the patient to suppress the body’s immune system. However, taking these drugs could lead to other infections of the body, due to the weakened immune system.
Post the surgery, patients may experience bleeding. It is a common side effect of the procedure. This complication is severe and can even be fatal if not treated at the earliest. Treatment generally relies on surgery. However, this post-operative surgery is also quite complicated as well.
3. Bile duct damage
In some transplant patients, the surgery causes unforeseen leaks from the bile ducts. In other cases, the surgery causes the ducts to shrink in size, leading to further complications.
4. Seizures and confusion
In rare cases, the liver transplant surgery may lead to seizures in the patient. Mental confusion usually accompanies the seizures and can cause quite a bit of distress to the patient and their family members.
5. Recurrence of the liver disease
Long-term risk factor for such a surgery is that the liver disease leading to the transplantation may return over time. Over time, the disease may damage the newer organ as well. The best option to avoid the recurrence of the disease is to take precautions against the ailment, so that healthy liver stays healthy.
Speak to your surgeon or attending physician regarding the impending transplant surgery, if you want to know more about possible complications for the surgery.