Living donor liver transplant uses part of a liver, often half, from a living person. This works because the liver is the only organ that can grow back to normal size.

The living donor's liver and the recipient's liver will fully regrow and function normally within 4 months of transplant. By comparison, a deceased donor's liver can be divided and transplanted into two recipients.

How You Can Help: Recipients with living donors get transplants faster and have better outcomes. Even if you cannot be the donor, you can play a valuable role by becoming a living donor transplant champion. Learn more about living donor champions.

Living Donor Liver Transplant Benefits

Liver transplantation is such a successful procedure that there are not enough deceased donor livers available, resulting in longer wait times for patients. Living donor liver transplant not only adds more available livers, it greatly reduces patient wait time.

Other recipient benefits:

  • Earlier transplants stop liver disease progression
  • More likely to stay healthy
  • Less chance of rejection
  • Faster recovery

Living Donor Liver Transplant Recipients

At the University of Maryland Medical Center, we consider living liver donation for all patients. These guidelines help us determine whether living donor liver transplant is your best option.

  • You must have a relative or close friend who is a willing and compatible donor.
  • You must have symptoms of liver failure and need a transplant as soon as possible.

Living Donors for Liver Transplant

Liver donation is a major surgery and a serious commitment. The best candidates for living liver donation are family members or close, personal friends of the recipient. If you wish to become a liver transplant donor you should:

  • Discuss donation with your recipient and be willing to donate
  • Have a close personal relationship with the recipient
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 60
  • Have a blood type that is compatible with the recipient's
  • Be in excellent health
  • Not have uncontrolled high blood pressure, liver disease, diabetes or heart disease

We want you to feel comfortable asking questions during every step of the transplant donor process. If you are considering or have agreed to be a liver transplant donor, you can get help from one of our living donor transplant coordinators, who can answer your questions. Your donor advocate can help you determine your best interests confidentially, before you meet with the surgical team.

Living Donor Liver Transplant Procedure

You and the recipient will have surgery at the same time. Our transplant surgeons will remove a portion of your liver and immediately transplant it to the recipient.

First, just before surgery, you will have final tests that include a physical exam, blood tests, an EKG (echocardiogram) of your heart and other tests to make sure you are healthy and have no infections. After your surgery you will be in hospital recovery.

Later that day we will help you get out of bed and walk. The next morning you can visit your recipient, who will also be in recovery. Most donors go home in about 6 days.

Learn More About Living Donor Liver Transplant

To speak with a transplant coordinator or to become a donor, call 410-328-3444 or download our living donor guide.