What is living liver donor transplant?

Living liver donation occurs when a healthy person donates a portion of their liver to a recipient with end-stage liver disease in need of a liver transplant. During the liver donation procedure, the recipient's diseased liver is removed and replaced with a portion of the healthy donor's liver. The recipient and donor surgeries are carried out at the same time in different operating rooms. Since a healthy person can expect their liver to regrow to 85–90 percent of its original size within two months, living liver donation is a generous decision some people are willing to make to make to save a life.

Already have a donor in mind?

Depending on your wait list placement, receiving a liver transplant from a living donor may be your fastest option to transplant and restoring your health.

If you have a liver donor in mind, have them complete the Living Donor Assessment Form right away.

More information about living liver donation

Evaluation Process

Living Liver Donor Evaluation Process

Education an donor screenings are two very important components in the living liver donation process. Living liver donors are advised on surgical, medical, financial and emotional risks. They are also thoroughly evaluated to ensure good health and organ function prior to donation.

Here’s what you can expect during your evaluation process:

  • Blood draw to confirm blood type, tissue compatibility and general health
  • Female donors will need to provide a copy of their last Pap test, breast exam and mammogram. Ask
    your donor coordinator for a “Release of Information” form to forward to your doctor offices. If your
    Pap test or mammogram is more than a year old, you should schedule appointments for new exams
  • Education session with a transplant surgeon and living donor nurse coordinator
  • Evaluation by a transplant surgeon and hepatologist (liver doctor)
  • Evaluation by a clinical health psychologist
  • Consult with a social worker and an independent living donor advocate
  • Chest X-ray and EKG (tests to determine heart and lung health)
  • Radiology/imaging of the liver
  • Final pre-donation evaluation studies (completed 10 to 14 days before surgery)
  • Any additional testing as needed

Donation Process

Living Liver Donor Process

All donation and transplant surgeries are done at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center by our transplant team. If our transplant team clears you as a donor and your recipient has been identified, the surgery will be scheduled within a few weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Living Liver Donor Frequently Asked Questions

How to be a living liver donor

Khalid Mumtaz, MD, MSc, transplant hepatologist at Ohio State, explains the benefits of live donor transplantation and the requirements to be a living liver donor.

Living donor liver transplant vs. whole liver transplant

What are the differences between a live liver donor transplant and the traditional whole liver transplant? Sylvester Black, MD, PhD, transplant surgeon at Ohio State, explains the difference as well as surgery risks and long-term outcomes for both donors and recipients.

Non-medical risks to know about living liver donation

Learn about the non-medical risks associated with being a living liver donor and available resources to help make an informed decision, as explained by Ohio State transplant social worker, Megan Homsy, LISW-S.

Process to become a living liver donor

Learn about the process and evaluation to become a living liver donor from Ohio State transplant living donor coordinator Robin Petersen-Webster, RN, CCTC.

Preparing for a live donor liver transplant

Learn about the process and evaluation for living liver donor transplantation from Ohio State pre-transplant coordinator Rebecca Kovatch, BSN, RN.

Why have an advocate for living liver donation

Independent living donor advocate Dana Mason, MSW, LSW, explains the importance of having a donor advocate assist you in the decision-making process of becoming a living liver donor.

Patient Success Stories

Tessa saves her brother's life through living liver donation

The Christmas holiday was turned upside down a few years ago when Mac received news that he needed a liver transplant in order to save his life. His sister Tessa, didn't hesitate to see if she would be a living donor match.

Daughter gives life back to her mother with a living liver donation

An infection took a toll on Debbie's liver. A transplant became inevitable and Debbie was running out of time. One of her daughters stepped up and offered to be a living liver donor. As Debbie explains, she gave life to her daughter, and her daughter gave life to her in return.

Our Providers

Subscribe. Get just the right amount of health and wellness in your inbox.