When Is Liver Transplant Necessary?

Liver transplants are performed to replace diseased livers with healthy ones. Transplantation of the whole liver is not always necessary, depending on liver transplant indications. There are some instances where only a section of the liver is needed for pediatric transplant patients. Because of this, family members who are genetically compatible can donate part of their livers (living donor transplantation or live donor transplantation). Otherwise, the majority of livers come from unrelated deceased organ donors.

According to The United Network for Organ Sharing, in 2012, 6,256 liver transplants (of which 525 were pediatric liver transplants) and 26 multi-organ liver-intestine transplants (of which 44 were pediatric) were performed in the United States. The waiting list is long, however. As of May 31, 2013, 15,758 people (including 477 children) were waiting for a liver transplant.