According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, only a few hundred living donor liver transplants are done annually in the United States.
People who donate a portion of their liver experience regrowth within a week; the difference is visible by a CT scan or an MRI. “We don’t know exactly what triggers it to regrow, and we don’t know what triggers it to stop growing. But it does stop when it gets to nearly 100 percent of where it was before,” says Dr. Griesemer.
Approximately 15,000 people in the U.S. are currently waiting for a liver transplant, and that number rises each year, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
NewYork-Presbyterian is aiming to reduce that number by offering a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure that significantly reduces recovery time for living liver donors.
With this procedure, instead of one large incision, several small incisions are made, with the main incision in the lower abdomen. This leads to “less pain because of where the incisions are made, a faster recovery, and less inflammation in the abdominal wall,” explains Dr. Griesemer. “The donors go home from the hospital faster, their recovery is shorter, and they return to work faster.”