Living Organ Donors – A Brief Overview of Liver Donation

The liver is an organ capable of regenerating itself over time, provided no illness causing permanent damage exists. Due to these regenerative properties, transplant surgeons such as Dr. Lewis Teperman encourage eligible individuals to consider becoming living organ donors. The director of transplantation for the New York University Langone Medical Center, Dr. Lewis Teperman has conducted research concerning the increased survival rate of liver disease patients who receive a piece of a living donor’s liver.

Liver transplants occur only after the exhaustion of other medical treatments. Alongside the recipient, living organ donors undergo surgery in which a segment of the donor’s liver is removed and given to the recipient. Within a short period of time, the livers of both the donor and the recipient will return to normal size. Living donors are not required to be related to the recipient, provided they prove to be a match.

Individuals seeking to become living donors must undergo a screening process to determine whether they fit the physical and mental criteria. Factors which cause ineligibility include pregnancy, active alcohol or substance abuse, and diseases of the liver, heart, or lungs. Candidates meet with doctors, nurses, a donor advocate and social workers who assess their health and the likelihood of a successful surgical procedure; if approved, candidates can become living donors and begin preparation for the upcoming procedure, including meeting regularly with a social worker to ensure their full consent and understanding.

Living donor candidates are encouraged to become fully informed about the procedures, benefits, and risks regarding donating a segment of their liver, and to not make the decision under duress. While living donors can increase the success rate of treatment for patients with liver disease, the surgical procedure does involve risks, including blood clotting, pain, pneumonia, and deep vein thrombosis. However, these risks can be reduced by keeping the transplant team fully informed of the donor’s medical history.

The American Liver Foundation – Events and Fundraising

The director of transplant surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, Dr. Lewis Teperman has more than 30 years of experience and specializes in hepatobiliary surgery and liver transplants, including living donor transplants. Dr. Lewis Teperman is the recipient of the 2014 Physician of the Year award from the American Liver Foundation (ALF).

Founded in 1976, the American Liver Foundation was the nation’s first voluntary health agency created specifically to study and fight liver disease. Dedicated to increasing education, support, and research for liver disease, the foundation also works to increase public awareness. For more than 30 years, the ALF has provided over 800 scientists and physicians with $24 million in research funding.

The ALF holds a number of events, like the Liver Life Walk, Liver Life Challenge, and Flavors Culinary Experience, throughout the year to raise funds and support for the foundation and the more than 30 million Americans affected by liver disease. The ALF also accepts direct support in the form of donations, honor or memorial gifts, and personal fundraising efforts. To learn more, visit www.liverfoundation.org.