Liver Transplant Surgery | Evaluation and Process | MedStar Health
MedStar Health liver transplant waitlist patients receive transplants more quickly than at other transplant centers.

MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute is one of the largest liver transplant centers in the region, with 120+ transplants a year. Our commitment to our patients translates to excellent outcomes that exceed the national average.

Meet the team (PDF)

What to expect during the liver transplant process

  • Your transplant coordinator is your main contact and will conduct the initial evaluation and provide you with information about the transplant process, waiting lists, and your role in the transplant process.
  • You’ll receive care tailored to your needs from a multidisciplinary team of specialists who will guide you through each step of your diagnosis and treatment.
  • You’ll have access to the latest technology for the diagnosis and treatment of liver disease, including non-invasive liver fibrosis measurement, endoscopic therapies, and cutting-edge surgical techniques, including minimally invasive and robotically-assisted surgery and living donor liver transplant.
  • Your team will include any additional specialists needed to treat your condition, including gastroenterologists, radiologists, oncologists, and pathologists, all in one place.
  • You’ll have access to new treatments through the wide range of clinical trials.

Why choose MedStar Health for your surgery

Our liver transplant outcomes are the highest in the region.

  • Our team of hepatologists (liver specialists) and gastroenterologists help manage liver disease, at times prolonging or even eliminating the need for transplant

  • Our transplant surgeons apply the latest surgical techniques, including laparoscopic liver resection and transplant, cadaveric or split-liver transplantation, when appropriate

  • Wait times among the lowest in the country

Life-saving liver and kidney transplant care for U.S. veterans at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute. Covered through your VA insurance.

Transplant surgeons Jessica Davis, Rohit Satoskar and Atoosa Rabiee pose for a group portrait.Veterans living anywhere in the U.S. who need a liver or kidney transplant can receive this care from the experienced transplant specialists at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute, one of the top transplant centers in the nation. The Veteran’s Administration recently added the Institute to its network, giving veterans access to the expert, compassionate care provided by the multidisciplinary MedStar Georgetown transplant team.

This collaborative program allows veterans to continue receiving much of their care pre- and post-transplant at the VA, with the transplant procedure taking place at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. The MedStar Georgetown team of transplant specialists provide care tailored to the needs of each patient, using the latest surgical techniques and technology, including minimally invasive and robotically-assisted surgery and living donor transplant to treat end-stage kidney and liver disease.

And as long as you have your evaluation with your local VA, everything is covered by your VA insurance.

To learn more about the VA-MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute program, click here.

Liver disease

MedStar Health provides premiere liver disease diagnosis and treatment for patients suffering from a variety of liver disorders, including:

Different types of liver disease are treated in different ways. Critical to managing liver disease and perhaps even regenerating new, healthy liver cells, is a healthy diet that supports healthy liver function. However, if your liver is damaged to the point where regeneration is not an option, the best treatment for some types of end-stage liver disease is transplantation.

Liver transplant evaluation

The goal of the evaluation process is to make sure your health is optimal and that you will benefit from liver transplantation. During the evaluation you will be seen by multiple members of our team.

The evaluation includes a physical exam and several tests and assessments, many of which can be completed at a location near your home:

  • General health exam
  • Lab tests to measure the condition of your organs
  • Imaging tests to assess the extent of your liver disease
  • Heart tests
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Addiction counseling, if needed
  • Physical therapy to help you maintain strength and endurance so that the process of surgery and recovery goes as smoothly as possible

The health information we gather is used to create your profile and determine where you’ll be placed on the national transplant waiting list if transplant is an option for you.

After the evaluation, the team will meet to determine our recommended best treatment option for you and then work with you to follow the treatment path. While you’re waiting for an organ, our team will be in constant communication with you and care for you so you’re in the best health possible when it comes time for your transplant.

Liver Transplant Surgery

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When liver function becomes severely compromised, a liver transplant may be necessary.

Liver transplant surgery process

If the team determines that a liver transplant is the best option for you, you’ll be added to the national waiting list for a deceased donor liver. The team may also suggest that you work to find a living liver donor. Living donation can shorten the time you wait for your transplant and improve your long-term outcome.

When a deceased donor liver becomes available, the team will evaluate the organ. If it’s accepted by the transplant team, you’ll come to the hospital, undergo a brief physical examination, be prepared for surgery, and will ultimately be taken to the operating room.

Liver transplant surgery is done using general anesthesia. The transplant surgeon accesses your liver through an incision across your abdomen. There are different approaches to liver transplant, so the location and length of your incision may be different from someone else’s.

The surgeon removes your liver, puts the donor’s liver in its place, and reattaches your blood vessels and bile ducts to the new liver.

Liver transplant surgery recovery

The expected length of stay in the hospital after a liver transplant averages around seven to ten days. The time between discharge from the hospital and the return to full-time work or school is generally four to six months.

After your liver transplant, you will:

  • Immediately receive anti-rejection medications that you will continue to take throughout your life. Your doctor will help you find ways to manage any medication-related side effects.
  • Stay in the intensive care unit for a few days. Doctors and nurses will monitor the function of your new liver and test your liver function frequently to confirm that the new liver is working optimally.
  • Spend one to two weeks in the hospital. Once you are stable, you will recuperate in a transplant recovery unit where everyone is specially trained to care for transplant patients.
  • Learn about post-transplant care from the nursing staff and prepare for discharge.
  • Have frequent checkups as you continue recovering after you leave the hospital. The first visit after transplant is within a few days of your discharge. You are then seen weekly, until your wound has healed and your labs have stabilized. You may undergo blood tests once a week at first, but these will become less frequent throughout the recovery process. With time, the number of visits will decrease and you will continue follow up with your primary care provider.

Becoming a living donor

Give the gift of life. A living donor transplant can eliminate a long wait for a donor organ, and it provides the best quality organ possible.

Our providers

A team of transplant surgeons from MedStar Georgetown University Hospital pose for a group photo in the operating room.

Expert transplant care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our transplant specialists.

Our locations

Distance from Change locationEnter your location

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

3800 Reservoir Rd. NW
Washington, DC, 20007

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute at Fairfax

3020 Hamaker Court
Suite 501
Fairfax, Virginia 22031

MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute at Frederick

163 Thomas Johnson Dr.
Unit E
Frederick, MD 21702

Additional information

Patient Resources

For patient-friendly frequently asked questions, informative videos, our accessible locations, and more, click on the following links.

Patient stories

Research and clinical trials

Research is a critical part of what we do at MedStar Health. Learn more about our research on treating and managing advanced disease and transplantation surgery.