Liver transplant

Leading liver transplant surgery at the Royal Free Hospital

The liver transplant programme at the Royal Free Hospital began in 1988. 

The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust Sheila Sherlock Liver Centre is one of only seven liver transplant centres in the UK. We have performed more than 1500 liver transplants. 

At what stage of liver disease might I need a liver transplant?

You may require a liver transplant in order to treat:

  • liver failure, including acute liver failure
  • cirrhosis of the liver, if the decline in liver function is extreme
  • certain cases of liver cancer.

Following a liver transplant, most patients return to a full and active lifestyle and need only a few medicines to remain healthy.  

How do you decide if I need a liver transplant?

We will need to conduct an assessment at the Royal Free Hospital to decide whether not a liver transplant is the best course of treatment for your liver damage. The assessment is usually completed within five days and consists of a variety of medical tests that give a detailed picture of your overall health status. 

If your liver disease has not progressed far enough, we will not suggest you have a liver transplant. Patients requiring surgery will be informed and the process will be explained to you.

After liver surgery: what happens following my liver transplant?

If you undergo liver surgery, our liver specialist team at the Royal Free Hospital will follow a specific process. You will be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU), where you will be looked after by our specialist intensive care team. The liver team will also be closely involved in your care following your liver surgery whilst you are in the intensive care unit.

A nurse will be with you all of the time to monitor your heart, blood pressure and breathing, and to make sure you are comfortable. You will also be given pain relief.