Many people have to go through liver transplants. The cost can be huge for many. Let us understand why we need a liver transplant and how much it costs.
Functions Performed by The Liver
The largest internal organ is your liver. This organ performs several crucial functions. Following is a list that explains its role:
- It helps process nutrients and medication and regulates hormones.
- Plays a role in the production of bile which is responsible for the absorption of fats, cholesterol, and fat-soluble vitamins.
- The proteins that help the blood clot are produced with the help of the liver.
- It helps eliminate toxins and bacteria from the blood.
- It helps control immune responses and helps prevent infections.
What is A Liver Transplant?
A liver transplant refers to a type of surgery that involves replacing a liver that is functioning inefficiently with a healthy liver. For the transplant, the liver of a deceased donor or a part of the liver of a healthy individual is used.
A liver transplant is a treatment option usually used for individuals with chronic liver disease. The amount of patients waiting for a transplant is much higher than the availability of organ donors.
Living individuals can donate a part of their liver as the liver possesses the capacity to regenerate and return to normal size after surgery.
How Much Does A Liver Transplant Cost?
When calculating the total cost of a liver transplant, several expenses are to be considered. The following costs are to be included:
- Testing and evaluation before the transplant.
- The transplant or surgery.
- Post-transplant hospital stay.
- Follow-up testing and care costs.
- Fee payment to the surgeon, hepatologist, and anesthesiologist.
- Physical therapy
You may also need to consider traveling and lodging expenses if there are any involved.
Liver transplant cost in the top 10 currencies:
Singapore: It is a well-known destination for liver transplants. The average cost of a liver transplant in Singapore is around $400,000
Turkey: The average cost in Turkey is around $110,000
Egypt: Liver transplants are a necessity in Egypt as liver diseases affect a large amount of the population. Liver transplants typically cost around $60,000
Germany: Germany has one of the best authoritative clinics in Europe. The average liver transplant cost here is around $300,000
UK: Liver transplants in the UK are much cheaper than in the US. The average cost of the procedure is around $80,000.
India: India is well-known for medical tourism. The cost of a liver transplant is around $23,000. The success rate is high.
US: The cost of a liver transplant in the United States is around $600,000.
South Africa: This is a popular destination for liver transplants. The average cost of liver transplants in South Africa is $300,000.
Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is beginning to be known for medical procedures. Liver transplants cost around $80,000 in this country.
- Iran: Iran is among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of liver transplants. The procedure costs around $100,000
Who Gets Transplants?
A liver transplant is an option that some individuals who have cancer opt for. Transplants are only opted for if no other treatment options are effective. Liver failure can occur very quickly and when this happens it is termed as acute liver failure.
Acute liver failure can be treated using transplants but the option is used more frequently to treat chronic liver failure which occurs slowly. One of the most common causes of chronic liver failure is liver cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis refers to a condition wherein the liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue leading to the inefficient functioning of the liver. Apart from this, a liver transplant may be required for the following reasons:
- Hepatitis B and C
- Alcohol liver disease
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Genetic diseases such as hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease.
- Diseases that affect the bile ducts. Examples are biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and biliary atresia.
Risks Associated With Liver Transplants
Liver transplant is a risky procedure and complications have been associated with the procedure and the drugs that help prevent rejection of the new organ. Following are some of the health risks of the procedure:
- Blood clots
- Rejection of the donated liver
- Failure of the new organ
- Mental confusion or seizures
- Complications related to the bile duct.
Post-transplant you will require anti-rejection medication which has the following side effects:
- High cholesterol levels
- Bone thinning
- High blood pressure
What is The Success Rate of Liver Transplants?
Chances of survival and success after a transplant depend on your situation. Generally, around 75% of individuals live good lives for up to 5 years after transplantation.
This means that about 75 out of 100 people who get transplants live for 5 years. Liver transplant rates for people differ according to the type of transplants they receive.
Diet and Nutritional Requirements Post-Transplant
Eating a healthy diet is especially important after surgery. Your medical team will consist of a dietician who you can discuss your needs with.
In general, your diet should be low in sugar, salt, fat, and cholesterol. You should completely avoid consuming alcohol. A dietician may give several recommendations.
Some recommendations may be as follows:
- Eat 5 or more servings of fruits every day.
- Grapefruit and its juice may have effects on immunosuppression medications and therefore it should be avoided.
- Consume fiber-rich foods.
- Consume whole grains, and avoid processed foods.
- Consume low or no-fat dairy products for the maintenance of calcium and phosphorous levels.
- Consuming lean meats, fish, and poultry.
- Following food safety guidelines.
- Always stay hydrated by drinking water and other fluids.
Should You Exercise?
To improve the overall quality of life after surgery, it is important to engage in regular exercise. This will not only help improve physical but also mental health. You should take walks, a little while after the surgery.
Later, you can engage in more physical activity. You can opt for cycling, swimming, low-impact strength training, etc. To determine the best exercise routine for yourself, check with your medical team.
Liver transplants are available in many countries. You can choose the lowest-cost treatment destinations. The survival rate for liver transplants is overall satisfactory.
A lot of factors are to be taken into consideration before getting a transplant. Take guidance and liver support supplements as and when necessary.