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
- 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).