Unknown Facts About Liver and Liver Transplant Surgery

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Dr Sania Datta, last updated on 17 July 2023
Unknown Facts About Liver and Liver Transplant Surgery

The human liver is the most vital organ in the body. It is a large, reddish-brown organ weighing about 3 pounds on the right side of the belly. The organ performs many essential functions that, if it stops working even for a single day, you cannot survive. Despite its importance in the human body, people pay little attention to the liver and its health. Let’s dive in and learn some essential unknown facts about the underappreciated liver. 

Not Just One, Liver Has Two Identities

  1. There is no suspense about the function of the liver as an organ.
  2. But it may be unknown to some people that the liver is also a gland.
  3. While organs usually have a function specific to one region, glands are specialised organs that release different hormones to target specific things in the body.
  4. The liver, as a gland, filters your body’s toxins and pushes them out of the body. 

Second Largest Organ - Next to the Skin

  1. The liver is the second largest organ and the largest gland in the human body, about the size of a football.
  2. It is situated just beneath the rib cage to the right side of your body and has two lobes, right and left.

Not One, Not 100, Liver Performs More Than 500 Functions

  1. The liver is responsible for simultaneously performing more than 500 vital functions in the human body.
  2. Some of these essential functions include producing bile which aids in the digestion and absorption of food, supplying glucose to the brain, storing nutrients, resisting infections, and synthesising proteins and cholesterol, among others. 

Did You Know, It Can Regenerate Itself?

  1. Yes, you heard that right! The liver is the only organ competent to regenerate itself completely.
  2. It most definitely has some astonishing powers! Say 75% of your liver was removed and only 25% left; 25% of tissue can regenerate a full-size liver in about six to eight weeks.

Working Liver = Functioning Brain

  1. The liver regulates plasma glucose and ammonia levels. If these levels get out of control, you may develop a medical condition known as hepatic encephalopathy, eventually leading to a coma.
  2. Therefore, a working liver is essential if you want your brain to function correctly. 
  3. Now you know how vital this hardworking organ's health is. However, if your liver becomes injured or diseased and stops working correctly, you may need a liver transplant to save your life.
    But what is a liver transplant? Read on to find out.

What is a Liver Transplant?

A liver transplant, also called hepatic transplant, is surgery to remove the diseased liver and replace it with a part of the healthy donor liver. Several people with liver transplants continue to lead perfectly normal lives. However, there are various facts about liver transplants that you may not be aware of. 
Some Interesting facts about Liver Transplant:
  1. The first liver transplant surgery was attempted in 1963, and the world’s first successful liver transplant was performed in 1967. 
  2. The number of liver transplants performed has increased steadily for more than 15 years. 
  3. Liver transplant is of two types: deceased organ donation and living donor organ donation. 
  4. The most common cause of liver transplants is cirrhosis. 
  5. A living donor must have a compatible blood type; however, he/she need not be a blood relative. Moreover, the donor and recipient need not be matched by age, sex, or tissue type. 
  6. 40 to 60 per cent of the donor’s liver is removed during the transplant. 
  7. The recovery time after the transplant is two months for the donor and six to twelve months for the recipient. 
  8. The remaining part of the liver begins to regenerate itself almost immediately. 
  9. Both the donor’s and recipient’s livers become full-sized within eight weeks. 

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What Quantity and Duration of Alcohol Consumption Lead to Alcoholic Liver Disease?

  1. For men, more than three to four drinks every day can lead to alcoholic liver disease. 
  2. For women, more than one to two drinks every day can lead to alcoholic liver disease. 
  3. Drinking more than the advised amount of alcohol daily for 5 to 10 years can develop complications of alcoholic liver disease, although it is more common after 20 to 30 years. 
  4. As per WHO, in 2016, approximately 2.3 billion people were actively consuming alcohol.

Liver Disease and Transplant Stats

  1. Liver disease affects almost one in every 5 Indians, and more than 50 million people worldwide are affected by chronic liver disease. 
  2. Almost 2,00,000 people in India die of liver disease every year. 
  3. According to World Health Organisation, liver disease is India’s tenth most common cause of death. 
  4. Liver disease deaths in India constitute 3.17% of total deaths in India. 
  5. The common causes of liver disease requiring liver transplants in adults include hepatitis C (24%), alcoholic liver disease (22%), non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (21%), and hepatitis B (18%). 
  6. 2-11% of Covid-19 patients have underlying chronic liver disease. 
  7. Almost 50% of cirrhosis mortality is directly or indirectly linked to alcohol consumption. 
  8. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) prevalence in India is 9 to 32%. 
  9. Nearly 25,000 liver transplants are performed globally, against an annual requirement of 2,00,000. 
  10. Doctors in India could only perform 500 liver transplants in 2009 and 750 in 2010. 
  11. The number of liver transplants rose to almost 2,000 in 2014. However, it was still significantly less than the required transplants, the reason being the unavailability of donors and the high costs of the transplant procedure. 
  12. Almost 85% of total liver transplant cases in India are living donor liver transplants (LDLT). 
  13. The incidence of complications in recipients post-LDLT in India ranges between 11% to 14%. 
  14. Liver transplants have a success rate between 85% to 90%. 
  15. People with a liver transplant have an 89% chance of survival after the first year, and the five-year survival rate is 75%. 
  16. About 10% of all paediatric liver transplants are from living donors. 
  17. Although 25,000 to 30,000 liver transplants are annually needed in India, only 1,500 patients find the donors. 
  18. 90% of all liver transplants in India have been performed in private sector hospitals and 70% in Delhi. 

What is the Cost of Liver Transplants?

The cost of liver transplants can differ depending on whether you receive a liver from a living donor or a deceased donor:
  1. The procedure cost for living donor liver transplants ranges from 17 to 20 lakhs, plus two lakhs for pre-operative tests of both the donor and recipient. 
  2. The procedure cost for deceased donor liver transplants ranges from 20 to 22 lakhs, plus two lakhs for pre-operative tests of the recipient. 
Type of Donor Cost
Living Donor 17 to 20 lakhs
Deceased Donor 20 to 22 lakhs

Need for a Timely Consultation and Liver Transplant

Almost 2,00,000 patients die of liver failure every year in India. Out of this, about 10-15% of people can be saved with a timely liver transplant. The expert team of doctors and surgeons at HexaHealth can help you start your donor search early to increase your chances of a successful liver transplant. Consult with an HexaHealth expert today for an early diagnosis of liver disease and a timely transplant. 

While some people are unfamiliar with the facts surrounding liver transplants, others have certain misconceptions regarding the same.


Liver transplant surgery is a complex procedure, and choosing an organ donor is a big step. Therefore, knowing all the facts about the transplantation is important before making an informed decision. Want to know more about the liver transplantation process? Consult an HexaHealth expert TODAY!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some Myths and Facts about Liver Transplant Surgery?

  1. Myth: Receiving a donor from a living person is better than receiving it from a deceased person. 
    Fact: There have been many cases where the patient received the liver from a deceased person. A living or deceased donor does not affect the transplantation process. Only the source should be compatible, and the liver should be removed within the stipulated time. 
  2. Myth: Rich patients are given a higher preference than poor people for transplantation. 
    Fact: Not true at all! The judgement for the liver donor is made based on the disease progression, the urgency of the liver, and the compatibility of the donor’s liver with the patient. The patient’s financial background is considered at no point in the selection process. 
  3. Myth: After the transplant, the donor may depend on medications for the rest of his/her life. 
    Fact: The donor will indeed require medications after the surgery to recover. However, it is only temporary; after the recovery phase, there is no need for medications. 
  4. Myth: Female donors cannot bear children after liver donation. 
    Fact: Again, not true! While female donors should wait one year after donation, they are as capable as other women of having children. 
  5. Myth: The transplant team may pressurise the donor to donate their organs. 
    Fact: False. At any point during the evaluation process, donors can change their minds about donating a part of their liver. Moreover, if you choose not to donate, you are not responsible for informing the recipient. 
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Updated on : 17 July 2023


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More


Dr Sania Datta

Dr Sania Datta

BDS (Panjab University) I MBA Hospital & Health Management (IIHMR Jaipur)

8 Years Experience

She is a high-impact healthcare management and medical content professional with enriching work experience in Parexel, HexaHealth Technologies, Apollo Munich, Credihealth and Fortis Hospital. Armed with deep and c...View More

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