Surgical Liver Replacement

A liver transplant is a surgical procedure that involves removing your diseased liver and replacing it with a healthy one. Most transplants come from a deceased donor, but in some instances a healthy person can donate a portion of their liver for a specific patient.

Your liver is your body’s largest internal organ. It helps store energy, digest food, prevent infections, make proteins and filter poisons from your system. Your liver can repair itself and grow new tissue when needed. When it is severely damaged, this process does not work, and your liver cannot regenerate enough new tissue to heal itself. When this happens, a liver transplant may be the best treatment option.

Liver failure may happen quickly (acute) or over a long period (chronic). It is most commonly caused by scarring, also called cirrhosis, of the liver.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

The symptoms of liver failure include:

  • Yellowing of your eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • Muscle loss
  • Swollen ankles or abdomen
  • Poor blood clotting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Forgetfulness, confusion or brain fog
  • Bleeding from your esophagus, rectum or stomach

Before you’re approved for a liver transplant, the team at Penn State Health conducts a thorough physical evaluation and reviews your medical history. Our experts assess whether you're healthy enough to undergo surgery and evaluate your commitment to the long-term follow-up care required to maintain your health.

Testing may include:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
  • Review of your support system, finances and mental health
  • Evaluation of your cardiovascular system
  • Addiction counseling, if needed

Once you’re deemed eligible for a liver transplant, you’ll be placed on a nationwide waiting list until a donated liver is available.

With regular follow-up care and a healthy lifestyle, a liver transplant can restore your health and help you lead an active life for many years.

Experts in Care

Meet our doctors, view their profiles and select the one that’s right for you.

Find a doctor near you

Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Advanced Expertise, Expert Care

The team of liver transplant experts at Penn State Health provides the most advanced care available in the region. We are the only facility in central Pennsylvania that performs liver transplants for rare liver-related complications like pulmonary hypertension and hepatocellular cancer. Our dedicated intensive care unit and highly trained and certified transplant nurses and nurse coordinators ensure you receive comprehensive, personalized care before, during and after your transplant procedure.

Our medical team is consistently recognized nationally through Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors awards. Our specialists also participate in worldwide conferences and speaking engagements in countries including India, Korea, Germany, Japan and others.

Support Groups

Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.

Learn more about support groups offered

Convenient Locations

Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

Find a location near you