Benefits and Risks of Living-Donor Liver Transplant

Advances in surgery and care now allow people to donate a portion of their liver to help someone in desperate need of transplant.

Our experienced team of living-donor liver transplant experts will discuss the following benefits and risks in more detail during your pre-donation evaluation. If, at any time, you feel uncomfortable or our team deems you an inappropriate liver donor, we will stop the process.

Benefits of Living-Donor Liver Transplant

  • Living-donor transplant is a life-saving procedure for people with end-stage liver disease. And it increases the number of available organs for people on the liver transplant waiting list.
  • Liver donors have the benefit of knowing that they have contributed to another person’s life in a very meaningful way.
  • With a liver readily available for transplant, donors and recipients can schedule surgery at a time that's convenient for both people.
  • Flexible scheduling enables the transplant to occur sooner, which can save recipients valuable time spent on the liver transplant waitlist and avoid the progression of liver disease.
  • Because the donor's liver is functioning up until the time of transplant, the recipient can benefit from improved long-term outcomes and a quicker recovery.

Risks of Living-Donor Liver Transplant

Surgery of any kind can carry inherent risks. Rarely are complications serious enough to require further corrective surgery or medical procedures.

  • Bile leakage has been known to occur in a small subset of liver donors; however, this typically resolves itself or can be treated by placing a tube in the liver to aid in the healing process.
  • Following liver donation surgery, some donors may get an infection at the site of surgery. If this happens, our transplant team will monitor your condition to minimize any health issues.
  • Liver donation can also cause organ damage, further complications, or even death in very rare cases. Fortunately, UPMC’s renowned liver transplant surgeons have experience with complex cases, reducing the risks for complications during surgery.

​Become a Liver Donor

If you'd like more information about becoming a liver donor, call toll-free 1-877-640-6746 or contact a UPMC living-donor liver transplant nurse coordinator at:

  • 412-647-5647 
  • 412-647-5489  
  • 412-647-5512

To schedule an evaluation for liver donation, please complete the above “Can I be a donor?” form and submit to, and a member of the liver transplant team will reach out to you in the near future.

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