The procedure of liver transplants in India has made tremendous progress. It has become possible as more people sign up to donate organs to help others. A liver transplant is a treatment that is often considered a last line of defense for patients with end-stage liver diseases. However, the procedure is very expensive, making it inaccessible to many. Keeping this in mind, the liver transplant cost in India has been modified to provide the best possible treatment at a relatively affordable fee to those in need.
What is meant by liver transplantation?
In laymen’s terms, liver or hepatic transplantation is a surgical procedure of replacing a non-functional liver with a donated healthy one. A part of the liver from a live donor is transferred to the receiver. The new liver is then attached to the blood vessels and bile ducts.
Liver failure is a long, drawn, and gradual process. Let us make a note of some of the primary reasons that can result in the need for a liver transplant.
- Hepatitis (B and C)
- Cirrhosis or scarring of the liver tissues is one of the most common reasons. It occurs when unhealthy scar tissues start to replace the normal tissues causing hindrance to liver functions.
- Hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease are a few genetic liver diseases that can lead to its failure.
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Primary biliary cirrhosis, biliary atresia, etc., affects the bile ducts.
- Liver cancer
Types of liver transplant surgery available in India
In general, there are different types of liver transplants. All of these are available in India based on the requirements of the patients.
- Living Donor Liver Transplant – The unhealthy liver is replaced by a section of the healthy liver acquired from the donor. As the organ can regenerate, it grows back to its original size for both the donor and the receiver. Here, family members are considered the most suitable candidates for donation.
- Cadaver Donor Liver Transplant – Under this type, a healthy liver retrieved from a deceased person replaces the unhealthy organ of the receiver. As the organ can re-grow, in some cases, the healthy liver is split into two so that it can be used for two end-stage liver failure patients.
- Auxiliary Liver Transplant – In this type of treatment, a healthy liver is transplanted to the receiver without removing the unhealthy one. This procedure is suggested by doctors only when they believe there is a chance of reviving the unhealthy organ with time.
Expenses for liver transplant in India
While the world is struggling to look for ways to balance cost and outcome, the Indian healthcare system seems to have found equilibrium. Even though the liver transplant cost in India varies from one hospital to another, it still follows a specific pattern. The expense heads for the procedure are as follows:
- Tests – MRI, CT scan, and ultrasound of abdomen and pelvis, Colonoscopy, Dobutamine stress echocardiogram, etc.
- High-end equipment – These include Intraoperative Cell Salvage (ICS) and Rapid Infusion System (RIS). These may be used by doctors during the surgery in case of excessive blood loss.
- Medication – A large part of the expenses for liver transplants is for anti-rejection medications. These help the body to accept the new liver without any unnecessary complications.
- Doctor’s fee – A large component of the liver transplant cost in India are consultancy charges, doctor’s fees, and hospital charges.
- Rehabilitation – Like any other form of surgery, a liver transplant demands physical therapy and updates in lifestyle. It is why the healthcare system in India also tries to accommodate rehabilitation programs into the fold. It helps patients better cope with their surroundings and accepts reality.
Success ratio in India
Every year hundreds of patients travel to India from across the globe, searching for low-cost liver transplant treatments. However, it is essential to note that a relatively moderate expense system does not mean a lack of facilities and care. On the contrary, India, in recent years, has witnessed approximately 75% – 80% success rate in the case of a liver transplant. This rate is higher for those who receive organs from living donors as the waiting period is lower.
To sum it up
Recent changes in the liver transplant costs in India have made this form of treatment affordable to many. Even though it is a challenging procedure, it has saved countless lives. However, before deciding to opt for a liver transplant, it is best to consult specialists to find out the most beneficial course of treatment.