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Liver Transplant Program

The liver transplant program at UK Transplant Center treats patients with end-stage liver disease and liver tumors. Our team of surgeons, nurse practitioners and nurse coordinators, hepatologists, pharmacists and social workers partner in providing personalized transplant care before, during and after surgery.  

When treating patients with liver tumors, our transplant team works closely with the oncologists and surgeons at UK Markey Cancer Center to ensure the special needs of these patients are met. Additionally, we offer the most advanced treatment available for patients with hepatitis C (Hep C) who are in need of a liver transplant.   

The first liver transplant at UK took place in 1995; since then, our surgeons have performed more than 700 transplants at UK Transplant Center, using state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions to provide the best possible treatment in a caring and compassionate environment.

  • Locations

    Clinics

    UK Northern Kentucky Transplant Clinic

    UK Northern Kentucky Transplant Clinic

    425 Centre View Blvd.
    Crestview Hills KY 41017

    Outpatient: Liver, Kidney

    Medical Plaza East

    UK Transplant & Specialty Clinic

    Suite 150
    3 Audubon Plaza Drive
    Louisville KY 40217

    Inpatient: Kidney

    Outpatient: Heart, Lung, Liver, Kidney, Pancreas, Living Donor

    UK Transplant Center

    Kentucky Clinic building

    UK Kentucky Clinic

    Third Floor, Wing D, Room J301
    740 S. Limestone
    Lexington KY 40536
    Fax 859-323-1700

    transplant@email.uky.edu - Note that this email is not secure and should not be used to send personal health information.

    Inpatient: Lung, Liver, Kidney, Pancreas, Living Donor

    Outpatient: Lung, Liver, Kidney, Pancreas, Living Donor

  • Make An Appointment

    Appointments Available

    New Patients

    If you are a new patient or would like to learn more about UK HealthCare Transplant Center services, please call us toll-free at 866-285-4337

    Current Patients

    If you are a patient and need to reach a member of your transplant team, please contact us at:

    Liver Transplant Team 
    Toll-free: 888-808-3212  
    Local: 859-323-8500

    Heart & Lung Transplant Team 
    Toll-free: 800-456-5287   
    Local: 859-323-4620

    Kidney & Pancreas Transplant Team 
    Toll-free: 866-474-6544  
    Local: 859-323-6544

    Living Donor Kidney Transplant Team 
    Local: 859-323-2467

  • About Liver Transplantation

    A liver transplant is a surgical procedure in which a patient with irreversible liver damage receives a liver from a non-identical donor (allograft). Diseases such as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC), hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer), and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) may cause irreversible liver damage and subsequent end stage liver disease (ESLD). One of the most common reasons a liver transplant is performed is for liver cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C or alcohol abuse.

    A patient being considered for liver transplantation must undergo an extensive assessment that includes diagnostic testing such as blood work, and imaging of the liver, as well as psychological and social counseling. It is inherent that the patient is tobacco and drug free, and will be required to prove cessation by passing drug screens as well as attending any required rehabilitation program or counseling. Only after the required criteria is met may the patient being placed on the UNOS (United Network of Organ Sharing) waiting list, although this unfortunately does not mean they will be transplanted immediately and must await a donor liver.

    Prior to transplant, a patient will begin antirejection medications such as Tacrolimus or cyclosporine, mycophenolate, or a compilation of medications to ready the body for accepting its new liver. Compliance must be emphasized as the transplanted liver may be rejected without adherence to the prescribed medication regimen. These medications are especially important during the first year post transplant and will likely be lifelong medications even though the likelihood of rejection decreases after this time period.

    The Procedure

    When a donor liver is secured, the transplant patient will arrive to the transplant center and prepped for surgery with an IV placed, as well as an arterial line to monitor the patient’s internal pressures in conjunction with sedation. A large chevron (V-shaped) incision extending from the right ribcage to the lower abdomen will be made as the surgeon separates healthy tissue and blood vessels while readying the patient for the new liver. The liver will be transplanted and each blood vessel connected before the incision is closed. The procedure can take between four and 12 hours.

    Risks and Complications

    The patient will be in ICU for several days for monitoring, with an expected stay of 7-14 days. Potential risks following the procedure may include blockage of blood vessels within the transplanted organ, bleeding, clots, rejection or infection. Lengthy recovery of transplant patients may lead to activity intolerance with the majority recovering fully within 2-3 months.