When a potential liver has been identified by the Penn transplant surgeons, patients are called by the transplant nurse coordinator and instructed to come to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). Upon arrival, they are taken to a patient room and a series of tests is performed to make sure patients are well enough to undergo the surgery.
Unfortunately, not all donor livers are suitable for transplant and there are occasions when the procedure must be cancelled.
Once the decision is made to operate, the patient is prepared for surgery. Before surgery, family members are encouraged to wait with patients. During the surgery, they can wait in the either the surgical waiting area located on the second floor of the Dulles Building, or in the intensive care unit (ICU) waiting area. It is important that a member of the surgical team know where the family is waiting in order to provide them with updates throughout the surgery.
The average liver transplant procedure takes between four and six hours. When the surgery is complete, patients are taken to the surgical intensive care unit (ICU).