COMPLICATIONS

Complications

The transplant team will describe the general risks, benefits, special risks, and alternatives to living donation and also provide a detailed summary of their specific experience and results. Left lateral segment liver donation (adults to children) is less risky than right lobe donation because a smaller volume of liver tissue is removed (30% versus 60-70%).

For the living liver donor, there are some risks involved, as there would be with any surgery requiring general anesthesia. These include:
  • Heart complications
  • Stroke 
  • Blood clot formation in the legs or lungs 
  • Bleeding or infection
While the risk of severe complications with living liver donation is minimal, risks specificallyto this procedure include:  
  • Small bile leaks from the remaining portion of the liver
  • Incisional hernia 
  • Gastrointestinal upset such as constipation, indigestion, nausea or diarrhea 
  • A temporary yellow color to the eyes and skin (jaundice) 
  • Temporary numbness in the arm 
  • Psychological trauma should the transplant fail
  • Failure of the remaining portion of the liver 
  • Death (0.2-0.5% risk)
Living liver donor surgery is still relatively new so there may be long-term risks that are not yet known. However, studies indicate that a donor’s liver mass returns to near normalwithin 12 months after surgery (most of this growth occurs within weeks of surgery).