Living Donor Liver Transplant

Donating a Portion of Your Liver for Transplant

For More Information 919-613-7777

Deciding to donate a portion of your liver is an intensely personal decision with priceless benefits to your recipient. Duke’s liver transplant surgery team can help you understand what’s involved in the living donor liver transplant process so you can make the decision that’s right for you. Should you decide to be a living liver donor -- to a loved one, to a stranger in need, or without an intended recipient -- we will be with you every step of the way.

Begin the Process

This preliminary, confidential survey will help us determine if it is safe for you to be a living liver donor.

The Benefits of Living Donor Liver Transplant

The most significant benefit of a living donor liver transplant is that the recipient gets the liver transplant surgery they need. According to the American Liver Foundation, thousands of people die each year while waiting for a donated liver to become available. A living donor liver transplant may also mean the recipient spends less time on the liver transplant list and can have the surgery before their condition deteriorates.

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Should You Become a Living Liver Donor?

The life-sustaining gift of living liver donation is an intensely personal, physical, and emotional journey. Our liver transplant team includes liver specialists, liver transplant surgeons, social workers, and transplant coordinators. We are dedicated to helping you fully understand the procedure and make the decision that’s right for you. 

Extensive Risks-and-Benefits Education 
If you are considering becoming a living donor, Duke’s liver transplant surgery team will provide you with extensive education about the risks and benefits before you make your decision.

Dedicated Transplant Coordinator
The transplant coordinator helps you plan your visit, answers any questions you may have, and -- should you choose to donate -- facilitates your personalized guidance through the process of donation, recovery, and follow-up. Medical staff is on call 24/7 for any needs that may arise.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Independent Living Donor Advocate
You will also be assigned an independent living donor advocate. The sole function of this advocate is to represent and advise you on all decisions.

Delay or End the Process at Any Time
You have the right to decide that living liver donation is not for you. You can change your mind and delay or end the donation process at any time. You may speak with any team member or the living donor advocate for assistance with this.

Call for an Evaluation

The Living Liver Donation Process

Extensive Evaluation

A comprehensive physical and psychological evaluation process will determine whether you can undergo the surgery with no ill effects, physical or otherwise. We select only liver donors we are confident can return to their normal lives after surgery.

The Liver Donation Procedure

During surgery, the doctor removes a portion of your healthy liver, along with its associated blood vessels and bile ducts, through an abdominal incision.

Living liver donors typically spend about a week in the hospital and are on a strict lifting restriction for several weeks afterward. The type of work you do will determine when you can safely return to work. This will be discussed in detail with the coordinator and surgeon during your evaluation.

Can the Liver Grow Back?

You can expect the remainder of your liver to grow back to its full, pre-donation volume by about three months after surgery.

Follow-Up Medical Care

Follow-up appointments with the transplant team are scheduled for one to two weeks after surgery and again at three months, six months, one year, and two years. You can return to Duke to see a member of our team, or your primary care doctor can collect follow-up blood samples and record vital signs like your weight and blood pressure.

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals

Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 10 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2024–2025.

This page was medically reviewed on 04/14/2023 by