Liver Transplant

Certain chronic (long-term) and acute (sudden) medical conditions can cause your liver to stop working. This is called liver failure. And while liver failure can be a serious threat to your health, a liver transplant can offer hope for a fuller, longer life.

At Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Surgery Institute, our surgeons regularly and successfully perform liver transplants on patients with complex conditions. We use innovative treatments, including stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), to help make liver transplant an option for more patients with liver cancer. 

Liver transplantation at AHN: Why choose us?

Based at Allegheny General Hospital, our dedicated transplant team offers comprehensive liver transplant care that’s personalized to your needs. Our multidisciplinary specialists work together to make lifesaving liver transplant possible for as many patients as possible.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Transplant expertise: Our transplant surgeons are board-certified and fellowship-trained, which requires years of intensive study of complex topics relating to medical and transplant care. This training ensures they can perform liver transplant surgeries safely and effectively.
  • Care for complex cases: Our transplant surgeons successfully perform intricate transplant procedures on sicker patients. Almost half of our patients have higher risks, with many requiring intensive care at the time of transplantation.
  • Tailored approach: We look at the big picture of your health when making decisions about your care. Considering the details of our patients’ health and circumstances helps us match them with organs that are more likely to offer the most long term benefits.
  • Convenience: Our transplant clinic at Allegheny General Hospital offers a one-stop-shop for transplant care. You can see several members of your care team, including liver specialists and social workers, during one visit. This approach saves you time during the evaluation process and ensures comprehensive follow-up care after your transplant. 

Causes of liver failure we treat

Our care teams carefully evaluate your condition and circumstances before they decide if liver transplantation is right for you. Our surgeons perform liver transplant surgeries to successfully treat several conditions that may lead to liver failure, including:

  • Cirrhosis, when a condition (such as hepatitis C or alcoholic liver disease) damages the liver slowly over a long period of time
  • Acute liver failure, which happens suddenly due to a serious infection or illness
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer
  • Liver dysfunction due to other causes, such as a genetic disorder

Ensuring the right liver failure treatment 

You will need to undergo extensive testing before we can decide if a liver transplant is right for you. Coordinating this testing when you’re sick can be difficult. That’s why our team goes the extra mile to make the evaluation process easier for patients and families.

We’ll help you set up appointments and guide you to resources that may help you. Learn more about the transplant process in our patient guide to liver transplant.

Living donor liver transplant 

The abdominal transplant team at Allegheny Health Network is one of the few medical centers around the country that perform living donor liver transplants, a highly sophisticated procedure that provides an additional life-saving option for some patients with end-stage liver disease. 

Living liver donation surgery requires comprehensive pre-transplant screening and planning protocols as well as precise coordination by the transplant team at the time of surgery.  Surgeons begin by removing part of a person’s healthy liver – up to 65 percent – and using the partial liver to replace the recipient’s diseased liver. The procedures occur simultaneously. In the following few weeks, the livers of both the donor and recipient will regrow to the size of normal livers.

Liver transplant for liver cancer 

A liver transplant can be lifesaving for patients with liver cancer. It is the only treatment that can remove both the cancerous tumors and the entire diseased liver. But patients must meet strict requirements to be eligible for liver transplant.

To help patients with liver cancer become candidates for transplant, our surgeons are pioneering the use of innovative treatment techniques. SBRT is a noninvasive treatment that kills cancer cells using high doses of radiation. Because SBRT directs radiation right at the tumor, it is highly effective while helping patients avoid severe side effects.

SBRT allows you to effectively treat liver cancer on an outpatient basis while you wait for a donor organ to become available. Learn more about liver cancer treatment.

Contact us

Call  (412) 359-5017 or request an appointment to learn more about AHN liver transplant services.