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Living Liver Donation

Almost 10,000* adults and children in the U.S. are waiting for a liver transplant, but there are not enough livers from deceased donors to perform transplants for all those in need. This organ shortage means many potential recipients die every year. Increasing wait times for a deceased donor may lead to frustration and a difficult period for family members and loved ones.

You can help by volunteering to become a living donor. It is essential that you discuss this complex decision with your family, the recipient and your doctors to learn as much as possible about the procedure.  

About Living Liver Donation

A living donor liver transplant allows a donor and recipient to share one liver through a specialized and complex surgical procedure that is possible because the liver is made up of segments. It is one of the body’s only organs that can regenerate to almost 100 percent of its original size and function.

Whenever possible, we offer robotic-assisted donor hepatectomies using advanced robotic surgical systems, an innovative procedure that greatly improves the surgical experience for the donor. Patients may experience less pain post-surgery, and typical in-hospital recovery time 7 to 10 days. Many donors report feeling well within days and return to work within four to six weeks after the surgery.

We also offer our Gumenick Suites for living donors during their inpatient stay. The Gumenick Suites are located in the Main Hospital, 9th floor, adjacent to our dedicated inpatient unit. As a Gumenick Suites guest, living donors will enjoy advantages that aid in peace of mind and comfort, such as higher nurse-to-patient ratios plus gourmet meals.

It’s the least we can do for these heroes.

During the transplantation, the donor and recipient each have their own surgical team and are in adjacent operating rooms.

In the donor’s operating room, surgeons remove part of the liver, usually the right half or lobe. Doctors also remove some of the blood vessels and ducts that assist with the function of the liver.

In the recipient’s operating room, surgeons remove the recipient’s entire diseased liver and prepare to immediately transplant the donated liver segment, blood vessels and ducts.

The dual surgery process takes 10 to 12 hours and requires a seven-day hospital stay for the donor. The liver takes roughly six weeks to grow to full size for the donor and recipient.

Donating a portion of your liver to a family member or loved one reduces the waiting time for the recipient and saves them from the stress of being on a waiting list. The recipient is often in the best health to undergo the transplant, which improves recovery time. Additionally, the organ from a living donor is often healthier than those donated after death.

You do not have to be a family member to donate part of your liver to your loved one. Spouses, friends, other loved ones or even altruistic donors are eligible to be evaluated. The evaluation process includes medical tests and meeting the transplant team to ensure that you are compatible and medically eligible to undergo this elective procedure.

Father and son describe their experience of living organ donation, and how it strengthened their already close bond.


Learn More About Becoming a Living Donor

Our experts developed this guide to help you learn more about the living donor experience. We answer common questions and more.

Download Our Guide

To learn more about living organ donation, please call (804) 828-2762 to speak to our living donor patient concierge representative.

* Based on OPTN data as of 01/09/2024