Liver Transplantation in India

The first successful liver transplantation in India was performed in an 18-month-old child with Biliary Atresia, in which his father became the donor. It was executed in 1998. The boy is 19 years old now and is living a healthy life.

Biliary Atresia is a common condition that leads to liver damage and arise the requirement of liver transplant. It is congenial deformity in which bile duct is not connected to the liver. Consequently, bile juice which is secreted from the liver is not able to reach the small intestine and accumulates in the body and damages the liver. Stats reveal that around 75% of liver transplants are for cholestatic liver diseases, mainly Biliary Atresia.

Generally, connection between the intestine and liver can be made surgically within two months of the birth and infant could lead a normal life. However, if surgery is not performed on time, it leads to further liver damage and failure and transplant is the only cure. Other medical condition where liver transplant is the only effective treatment includes Wilson’s disease, progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, liver cancer and jaundice.

Unlike other organ transplant surgeries, liver transplant if done successfully lasts a lifetime. Liver has ability to regenerate which makes liver transplant much successful than other organ transplants.In the last 15 years, liver transplant surgery has come a long way. There is much advancement in science and technology to facilitate performing successful liver transplantations in India.

Since the first successful liver transplant in 1998, there have been around 4,000 successful liver transplants in adults and over 400 liver transplants in children in India.There are specialised operation theatres fully equipped with advanced surgical instruments, close monitoring devices and operation table to facilitate the liver transplant surgery.
Many liver care centres also conduct robotic and laparoscopic surgeries to remove the part of the liver from the body of the liver donor, which consequently reduce the recovery time required for the living donor liver transplant.

In order to prepare operation theatre for transplantation, it is many times sanitised and sterilised. Generally, there is a dedicated team of transplant surgeons, paediatric hepatologists, intensivists, anaesthetists, nurses and other support staff to execute it carefully and successfully.

For successful liver transplantation, the child is prepared nationally and medically. Doctors also need to take in account all the post surgery infections. There has been a dramatic growth in liver transplantation in India in the last few years. The total number of liver transplants in Children has tremendously increases with good results. Paediatric patients constitute around 10% of the total liver transplants performed in India.

With growing success rate, excellent results and advanced methods, liver transplant surgery through living donor liver transplant has expanded and providing effective cure for acute liver failure, chronic liver failure, and metabolic liver conditions and helping people with liver diseases to liver normal and healthier life.

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