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Find information for patients and families to understand and navigate organ donation and transplantation below:

Questions and answers for transplant candidates about:

The liver

The right lobe is the largest part of the liver. The left lobe is the smallest part of the liver. The quadrate lobe is a small lobe located on the underside of the liver. The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ that stores and concentrates bile. It is connected to the liver by the hepatic duct. It is approximately three to four inches long and about one inch wide. The caudat lobe is functionally part of the left lobe and located on the underside of the liver. The portal vein is a large vein that carries blood from the stomach and intestines to the liver.

Functions of the liver

The liver is one of the largest and most complex organs in the body. It weighs approximately 1,500-1,800 grams (or about three to four pounds) and is made up of a spongy mass of wedge-shaped lobes. The liver has numerous functions that are necessary for life. The liver helps process carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and stores vitamins. It processes nutrients absorbed from food in the intestines and turns them into materials that the body needs for life. For example, it makes the factors that the blood needs for clotting. It also secretes bile to help digest fats, and breaks down toxic substances in the blood such as drugs and alcohol.

Liver transplant procedures

A liver transplant may involve the whole liver, a reduced liver, or a liver segment. Most transplants involve the whole organ but segmental transplants have been performed with increasing frequency in recent years. This would allow two liver recipients to be transplanted from one cadaveric donor or to allow for living donor liver donation. A reduced liver transplant may result if the donor liver is too large for the recipient.

Reasons for liver transplants

Liver diagnosis categories Liver diagnoses
Laennec's Cirrhosis (Alcoholic)
Laennec's Cirrhosis and Postnecrotic Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis: Postnecrotic--Type C
Cirrhosis: Cryptogenic--Idiopathic
Cirrhosis: Postnecrotic--Autoimmune-Lupoi
Cirrhosis: Postnecrotic--Type B-Hbsag+
Cirrhosis: Postnecrotic--Type Non A Non B
Cirrhosis: Postnecrotic--Type B and C
Cirrhosis: Postnecrotic--Other Specify
Cirrhosis: Drug/Indust Exposure Other Specify
Cirrhosis: Postnecrotic--Type B and D
Cirrhosis: Postnecrotic--Type A
Cirrhosis: Postnecrotic--Type D
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC)
Sec Biliary Cirrhosis: Other Specify
Sec Biliary Cirrhosis: Caroli's Disease
Sec Biliary Cirrhosis: Choledochol Cyst
Choles Liver Disease: Other Specify
PSC: Other Specify
PSC: Ulcerative Colitis
PSC: No Bowel Disease
PSC: Crohn's Disease
Biliary Atresia: Other Specify
Biliary Atresia: Extrahepatic
Biliary Atresia: Alagille's Syndrome
Biliary Atresia: Hypoplasia
AHN: Etiology Unknown
AHN: Type B- Hbsag+
AHN: Drug Other Specify
AHN: Non-A Non-B
AHN: Type C
AHN: Type A
AHN: Other Specify
AHN: Type B and C
AHN: Type B and D
AHN: Type D
Hepatitis C: Chronic or Acute
Hepatitis B: Chronic or Acute
Metdis: Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Defic A-1-A
Metdis: Wilson's Disease
Metdis: Hemochromatosis-Hemosiderosis
Metdis: Other Specify
Metdis: Tyrosinemia
Metdis: Primary Oxalosis/Oxaluria-Hyper
Metdis: Glyc Stor Dis Type IV (GSD-IV)
Metdis: Glyc Stor Dis Type I (GSD-I)
Metdis: Hyperlipidemia-II-Homozygous Hy
PLM: Hepatoma--Hepatocellular Carcinoma
PLM: Hepatoma (HCC) and Cirrhosis
PLM: Cholangiocarcinoma (CH-CA)
PLM: Hepatoblastoma (HBL)
PLM: Hemangioendothelioma-Hemangiosarcoma
PLM: Other Specify
PLM: Fibrolamellar (FL-HC)
Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangioma-Biliary Tr)
Secondary Hepatic Malignancy Other Specify
Other Specifiy
Cystic Fibrosis
Budd-Chiari Syndome
TPN/Hyperalimentation Ind Liver Disease
Neonatal Hepatitis Other Specify
Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis
Familial Cholestasis: Other Specify
Familial Cholestatis: Byler's Disease
Trauma Other Specify
Graft vs. Host Dis Sec to Non-Li Tx
Chronic or Acute
Benign Tumor: Polycystic Liver Disease
Benign Tumor: Other Specify
Benign Tumor: Hepatic Adenoma