The liver is an organ we rarely think about, yet it performs hundreds of functions. Some of those functions include filtering toxins, creating proteins, boosting the immune system, and regulating the body’s temperature, to name a few. Weighing in at roughly 2 percent of a person’s body weight, the liver is an extremely high-functioning, adaptable organ.
But even more amazing is its ability to regenerate. When a portion of the liver is removed, the liver’s cells divide and regrow the lost tissue within days. The growing liver can double its original size within four to six weeks, says Dr. Benjamin Samstein, chief of liver transplantation at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
That’s great news for those in need of a liver transplant; the liver’s ability to regenerate means living liver donation is also an option, which could help the thousands of Americans on the national transplant waiting list who may wait months or years to receive a donor liver.