Article Abstract

Surgical complications of liver transplantation

Authors: Clara Tan-Tam, Maja Segedi, Andrzej Buczkowski, Trana Hussaini, Eric M. Yoshida, Stephen Chung, Charles Scudamore


After the first successful human liver transplant in 1967 by Dr. Thomas Starzl at the University of Colorado Health Science Center, the techniques, medicine and technology continued to improve. Liver transplantation is a lifesaving surgery, however, it is not immune to complications. Patient co-morbidities, quality of the graft, surgical procedure and postoperative management all contribute to postoperative morbidity and mortality. Liver transplantation is a complex operation which involves the selection of the recipient, evaluation of the donor, the operation and the recovery. Every time a liver transplant occurs, the surgeons realize that they are not only responsible for one patient, but the lives of three patients. The donor, the recipient and the patient who is waiting to be the recipient. Every step from the organ retrieval, to implantation plays a role in the success of the organ transplant and recipient outcome. Complications can arise during and after liver transplantation, perioperative and surgical complications, immunologic and infectious disorders, and a variety of medical complications. This article covers a brief description of the operation, and the surgical complications of liver transplantation, focusing on surgical complications of the recipient.