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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Liver transplant- Inside the Operating Room

Two different medical and surgical teams work together to ensure the success of the liver transplantation. One team of surgeons and anesthetists prepare the potential recipient for the surgery, while the other team works on the removal of a liver segment from the donor. The surgery can take anywhere between 4 to 14 hours. The diseased liver would be removed from the recipient, and the new liver segment would be substituted in place of the original liver.

As liver transplantation is a major surgery, it would not be possible to move around during the next 24 or 48 hours. Several tubes would be placed around the recipient's body to enable post-operative recovery. This ensures that the functioning of the body can go on without any compromise. A tube is placed through the mouth into the windpipe to enable breathing. This is most commonly attached to a machine called the respirator that will help in breathing by contraction and relaxation of the lungs.

The function of the bowel cannot resume immediately following the surgery. To aid in bowel function, a tube called the nasogastric tube would be placed through the nose, into the stomach. In addition, a urinary catheter to drain the urine from the bladder would also be placed. This can be removed a few days after the surgery. Furthermore, synthetic tubes would be placed around the abdomen to drain the blood and other fluids from in and around the liver. This can be removed after 1 week.

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