Advocacy Liver Donor Living Donor Risks

Liver Donation vs. Other Elective Procedures

The data emerging from A2ALL on living liver donor transplanation reveals a 37.7% complication rate. So I thought I’d do some quick and dirty research on the complication rate of other ‘elective’ surgeries for comparison sake.


The complication rate for nasal surgery varies from 4-18.8%. Skin and associated soft tissue complications occur in up to 10% of cases. According to estimates, severe systemic or life-threatening complications occur in 1.7-5% of rhinoplasty cases. Intracranial complications are rare.


A study published in Dermatologic Surgery (July 2004, pp. 967–978), found that “The overall clinical complication rate [for liposuction] … was 0.7% (5 out of 702)”, the minor complication rate was 0.57%, and the major complication rate was 0.14% with one patient requiring hospitalization.


Hematoma Risk is higher in men (7-9%) than in women (1-3%). Permanent motor nerve paralysis occurs at a rate of 0.5-2.6%. Severe infections (requiring intravenous antibiotics) are rare, affecting less than 0.2% of rhytidectomy patients.

Breast Augmentation:

A Mayo Clinic study in the United States, for example, found that 25% of women with breast implants suffered local complications requiring additional surgery within five years.

According to Health Canada, capsular contracture occurs, usually within two years of surgery, in approximately 25% of women who undergo breast implant surgery.

Amusingly enough, this entire article harps on the “high rate” of complications related to breast implants. Yet not a single transplant professional has questioned the ethics of exposing healthy people to an unnecessary surgery for the treatment and benefit of another person resulting in a nearly short-term 40% complication rate. I say ‘short-term’ because we have NO idea what happens to these living donors long-term. No data on that at all.

Ghobrial, RM et al. Donor Morbidity After Living Donation for Liver Transplantation. Gastroenterology. 2008 Aug;135(2):468-76. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

Everhart. A2ALL results, presented at August 2010 ACOT.

Campsen, J. et al. Outcomes of Living Donor Liver Transplantation for Acute Liver Failure: The Adult-to-Adult Living Donor Liver Transplantation Cohort Study. LIVER TRANSPLANTATION 14:1273-1280, 2008

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