Liver Transplant

Over the past 25 years, MUSC Health has helped more than 1,500 patients receive the lifesaving liver transplant they need. As the only liver transplant program in South Carolina, MUSC Health also treats high-risk patients with complications from chronic liver disease.

Our liver transplant specialists carefully guide you through the transplant process so you can lead a full, healthy life.

Why Choose MUSC Health for Liver Transplant?

MUSC Health’s liver transplant team is right by your side before, during, and after your liver transplant. We’re ready to partner with you to achieve the best long-term results possible.

Multidisciplinary Care Approach

Your liver transplant team consists of specialists from many disciplines, including surgeons, hepatologists (liver doctors), nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, and behavioral health experts. Each team member has received special training to work with liver transplant patients, and our physicians are board-certified in transplant medicine. This team works together seamlessly to provide thorough, personalized care for each patient.

Superior Outcomes

Our liver transplant outcomes (success rates) match or exceed national averages. We strive to secure the best donor organs available, while preparing you to be as healthy as possible before transplant. We are committed to obtaining the best outcome possible for you. 

Unwavering Support

It is possible for people with a history of alcohol or drug addiction to obtain a liver transplant at MUSC Health. If needed, you’ll meet others with similar struggles in a 90-day group therapy program. This program is designed to help you qualify for transplant and set you up for long-term wellness.

Liver Transplant: What to Expect

Evaluation & Waiting List

The first step in the liver transplant process is an extensive medical evaluation and screening process to determine if you’re a good candidate. As part of this process, you’ll undergo multiple medical tests to evaluate your overall health, including an EKG, chest X-ray, and blood work.

You’ll also meet with psychiatry, behavioral health, and social work experts to make sure you have a good support structure in place. A liver transplant is a truly life-changing event, and we want to ensure that you thrive at each step along the way.

If a liver transplant is a safe choice for you, we’ll place you on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list. UNOS uses several factors to guide liver transplant matching, including medical urgency, blood type, and time spent on the waiting list. It’s important to understand that MUSC doctors do not determine the timing of your transplant – the timing is based on your status, which is governed by UNOS.

You can truly change someone’s life through living donation. If you’re interested in learning more or beginning the process of organ donation, please contact MUSC Health’s Living Donor Program at 843-792-5097 or register as a liver donor.

Surgery & Recovery

When UNOS matches you with a liver, your preparation and surgery will take place at MUSC Health. The surgery can take from 6 to 12 hours depending on how complicated it is. After surgery you’ll spend 24 hours in our intensive care unit. You will be transferred to a dedicated organ transplant unit as soon as possible.

Our patients often have a short hospital stay after liver transplant surgery, usually between four and seven days. After discharge, you’ll need to remain nearby for several weeks to receive close follow-up care for your new liver. Some cases may require follow-up care for several months after liver transplant.

Support Services

We know it can seem daunting to consider a liver transplant, and we aim to give you as much support as possible before, during, and after transplant. Our patient care coordinators can assist you by:

  • Putting you in touch with our monthly transplant support group, where you can connect with other transplant recipients who know exactly what you’re going through.
  • Helping to arrange housing and transportation while you’re in Charleston.
  • Completing prior authorizations and verifying insurance coverage for testing and follow-up care.

We offer a wide range of services to help patients and their loved ones. Read more about our patient support services.