Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Center for Liver Disease & Transplantation

Your Transplant Surgery

As soon as a donor organ becomes available for you, you’ll be notified to come in immediately for the transplant surgery, and the donor organ will be transported to The Methodist Hospital. The donor organ will remain packed in ice until it’s ready to be transplanted. The donor organ must be transplanted very quickly, so you will probably be hospitalized while waiting for the organ to arrive.

After receiving general anesthesia, you’ll be taken to the operating room where your surgeon and surgical team will perform the transplant.

  1. Your surgeon will first inspect the donor liver and mark the areas to be connected when it’s in place.
  2. Then he or she will make an incision in the shape of an upside-down Y in your abdomen to open the abdominal cavity.
  3. After clamping off the major veins and arteries connected to your liver, the surgeon will detach the organ and remove it from your body.
  4. The new liver will be inserted and the surgeon will connect the veins first, followed by the hepatic artery and the bile duct.
  5. The clamps will be removed and the surgeon will observe the new liver to make sure its blood supply is flowing properly.
  6. The surgeon will then close the incisions using surgical staples, which will stay in place for about 2–3 weeks to help the area heal.

For most liver transplant surgeries, patients spend about 8 hours in the operating room.

After surgery, you’ll be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU), where you’ll stay for several days so that your physicians can monitor you closely, check for signs of complications, and make sure that your new liver is functioning properly.

Once you’re stable, you’ll be taken to a transplant recovery area where you’ll continue to be monitored. After one to two weeks, your transplant team will give you a checkup schedule and you’ll be able to leave the hospital. You will need to stay near the hospital (within 50 miles) for about 30 days so that any complications can be treated immediately.

To find out more about the Methodist Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation, call us at 713-441-8839 or 866-94-LIVER (866-945-4837) or send us an email.