The liver is the second largest (after the skin) organ in the human body and the largest gland (weighing an average of 1500 g). The liver is a large, meaty organ that sits on the right side of the belly. An accessory digestion gland, the liver performs a wide range of functions, such as synthesis of bile, glycogen storage and production of clotting factors. The liver is a dark reddish-brown organ and shaped like a cone. The liver holds about one pint (13%) of the body's blood supply at any given moment. The liver consists of 2 main lobes. Both are made up of 8 segments that consist of 1,000 lobules (small lobes). These lobules are connected to small ducts (tubes) that connect with larger ducts to form the common hepatic duct. The common hepatic duct transports the bile made by the liver cells to the gallbladder and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) via the common bile duct. The liver regulates most chemical levels in the blood and excretes a product called bile. This helps carry away waste products from the liver. All the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. The liver processes this blood and breaks down, balances, and creates the nutrients and also metabolizes drugs into forms that are easier to use for the rest of the body or that are nontoxic. The liver performs a lot of vital functions. Some of the functions include the following:

  • Production of bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion
  • Production of certain proteins for blood plasma
  • Production of cholesterol and special proteins to help carry fats through the body
  • Conversion of excess glucose into glycogen for storage (glycogen can later be converted back to glucose for energy) and to balance and make glucose as needed 
  • Regulation of blood levels of amino acids, which form the building blocks of proteins
  • Processing of hemoglobin for use of its iron content (the liver stores iron)
  • Conversion of poisonous ammonia to urea (urea is an end product of protein metabolism and is excreted in the urine)
  • Clearing the blood of drugs and other poisonous substances
  • Regulating blood clotting
  • Resisting infections by making immune factors and removing bacteria from the bloodstream
  • Clearance of bilirubin, also from red blood cells. If there is an accumulation of bilirubin, the skin and eyes turn yellow. 

When the liver has broken down harmful substances, its by-products are excreted into the bile or blood. Bile by-products enter the intestine and leave the body in the form of feces. Blood by-products are filtered out by the kidneys, and leave the body in the form of urine.

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NOTE: Above More accurate treatment cost estimates can be provided if medical reports are emailed to us or after the patient is examined by doctors after arrival at hospital in India and medical tests are done after admission.

Frequently asked questions about Liver

What is liver Cirrhosis? What are its symptoms?

It means you have a condition that causes scar tissue to gradually replace your healthy liver cells. It usually happens over a long period of time because of infection or alcohol addiction. There may be no symptoms initially but as time goes on, and the damage to the liver gets worse the patient may notice fatigue and weakness, lack of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, severe muscle cramps, brownish urine, fever, bruising easily, swelling in the legs, changes in the skin like jaundice, whitening of nails, concentration or memory issues, in case of a woman menstrual cycle changes, in case of men changes in physical appearance.

What is portal hypertension?

Portal hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure in the portal vein, which supplies the liver with blood from the intestine. Portal hypertension may be due to increased blood pressure in the portal blood vessels, or resistance to blood floor through the liver. The increase in pressure can be due to a blockage in the blood flow through the liver. Portal hypertension can lead to the growth of new blood vessels (called collaterals) that connect blood flow from the intestine to the general circulation, bypassing the liver.   When this occurs, substances that are normally removed by the liver pass into the general circulation. Symptoms of portal hypertension may include:

  • Ascites - fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity
  • Bleeding of the varicose veins at the lower end of the esophagus and in the stomach lining
What are the treatment options for portal hypertension?

The effects of portal hypertension can be managed through diet, medications, endoscopic therapy, surgery, or radiology. Once the bleeding episode has been stabilized, treatment options are prescribed based on the severity of the symptoms and on how well your liver is functioning. When the patient is first diagnosed with variceal bleeding, you may be treated with endoscopic therapy or medications. In case the medication does not help, one of the following decompression procedures to reduce the pressure in these veins is used:

  • Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS): A radiological procedure in which a stent (a tubular device) is placed in the middle of the liver.
  • Distal splenorenal shunt (DSRS): A surgical procedure that connects the splenic vein to the left kidney vein in order to reduce pressure in your varices and control bleeding.
What is liver failure?

Liver failure happens gradually, over many years. It is the final stage of many liver diseases. But a rarer condition known as acute liver failure happens rapidly (in as little as 48 hours) and can be difficult to detect at first.

Liver failure happens when large parts of the liver become damaged beyond repair and the liver can’t work anymore.

There are two types of live failure:

  • Acute: This is when your liver stops working within a matter of days or weeks. Most people who get this do not have any type liver disease or problem before this event.
  • Chronic: Damage to your liver builds up over time and causes it to stop working.

What are the causes of chronic liver failure?

The causes are: Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, long term alcohol consumption, hemochromatosis (This inherited disorder causes your body to absorb and store too much iron. It can build up in your liver and cause cirrhosis), hepatitis A, autoimmune hepatitis, cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis (Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a long-term progressive disease of the liver and gallbladder characterized by inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts which normally allow bile to drain from the gallbladder.), oxalosis, Wilson’s disease, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (This genetic condition can lead to lung or liver disease.), liver cancer, liver adenoma, fatty liver disease, Alagille syndrome (A genetic disorder that results in fewer bile ducts than normal in the liver), Lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LAL-D, With this genetic condition, the patient cannot produce an enzyme called lysosomal acid lipase (LAL), which helps body break down fats and cholesterol in cells. As a result, fats stay in the liver and cause damage).

What are the stages of liver failure?
  • Stage 1: Inflammation. In the early stages, the liver will be inflamed and could be tender or it may not bother the patient at all.
  • Stage 2: Fibrosis/scarring:  Inflammation leads to scarring. As scar tissue builds up in the liver, it stops blood flow, which keeps the healthy parts from doing their job and makes them work harder.
  • Stage 3: Cirrhosis: The scar tissue takes over, and with less and less healthy tissue to do its job and liver functions are affected or the liver stops functioning.
  • Stage 4: End-stage liver failure/disease: This is an umbrella term for several conditions, including swollen liver, internal bleeding, loss of kidney function, fluid in your belly, and lung problems. Only a liver transplant can cure it.
Which is the best hospital for liver transplant?
  • Max Hospital 
  • Medanta Hospital
  • ILBS
  • Rela Institute of Liver Disease & Transplantation (RILDT) Chennai
  • Indraprastha apollo hospitals
  • Aster medical hospital
What is the cost of liver transplant in India?

The cost of a liver transplant can range anywhere between 20 - 25 lakhs. This includes the pre-transplant evaluation, the surgery itself and the post-surgery recovery period. There are certain factors that affect the cost of an organ transplant.

What is the treatment of liver cancer?

Treatment options might include ablation, embolization, or both for the liver tumor. Other options may include targeted therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy (either systemic or by hepatic artery infusion), and/or radiation therapy.

Is cancer of the liver curable?

Any liver cancer is difficult to cure. Primary liver cancer is rarely detectable early, when it is most treatable. Secondary or metastatic liver cancer is hard to treat because it has already spread. The liver's complex network of blood vessels and bile ducts makes surgery difficult.

What is the main cause of liver cancer?

The most common risk factor for liver cancer is chronic (long-term) infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV). These infections lead to cirrhosis of the liver and are responsible for making liver cancer the most common cancer in many parts of the world.

Which hospital is best for liver cancer in India?
How much does it cost to treat liver cancer in India?

New DelhiRs. 3,75,000Rs. 4,50,000
MumbaiRs. 3,25,000Rs. 4,75,000
ChennaiRs. 3,25,000Rs. 4,75,000
BangaloreRs. 3,50,000Rs. 5,00,000

What are signs of liver damage?
  • Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine color
  • Pale stool color
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tendency to bruise easily
What are the most common causes of chronic liver disease?

The most common causes are hepatitis and other viruses, and alcohol abuse. Other medical problems can also cause it. The damage to the liver usually can't be reversed.

What test are require to know liver disease?
  • Alanine transaminase (ALT). ...
  • Aspartate transaminase (AST). ...
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP). ...
  • Albumin and total protein. ...
  • Bilirubin. ...
  • Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT). ...
  • L-lactate dehydrogenase (LD). ...
  • Prothrombin time (PT).

The ALT and AST tests measure enzymes that your liver releases in response to damage or disease. The albumin test measures how well the liver creates albumin, while the bilirubin test measures how well it disposes of bilirubin. ALP can be used to evaluate the bile duct system of the liver.

Is hepatitis a form of liver disease?

Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. It's commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis. These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol.

What important functions are affected by severe, acute, or chronic liver disease?

The liver is a critical organ for many bodily functions. Interference with the liver function results in excessive bleeding, jaundice, sensitivity to the effects of drugs, and toxic effects on the brain (encephalopathy)

What is the name of late-stage chronic liver disease?

Chronic liver failure, also called end-stage liver disease (ESLD), progresses over months, years, or decades. Most often, chronic liver failure is the result of cirrhosis, a condition in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue until the liver cannot function adequately.

Can liver damage be reversed?

The liver is a highly regenerative organ and can totally regenerate itself from a small piece of itself. But sometimes the damage that occurs is extensive and hence the reversal becomes almost impossible. Sometimes the liver gets overwhelmed and can't repair itself completely, especially if it's still under attack from a virus, drug, or alcohol.

What is Alcoholic liver disease?

Alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) is caused by damage to the liver from years of excessive drinking. Years of alcohol abuse can cause the liver to become inflamed and swollen. This damage can also cause scarring known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the final stage of liver disease.

What is fatty liver?

Fatty liver disease (FLD), also known as hepatic steatosis, is a condition where excess fat builds up in the liver. Often there are no or few symptoms. Occasionally there may be tiredness or pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. Complications may include cirrhosis, liver cancer, and esophageal varices.

Can the liver heal itself?

The liver is a unique organ. It is the only organ in the body that is able to regenerate. With most organs, such as the heart, the damaged tissue is replaced with scar, like on the skin

What are the risk factor of liver disease?

Factors that may increase your risk of liver disease include: Heavy alcohol use. Obesity. Type 2 diabetes. Viral infections

What is liver transplant?

Liver transplantation is a surgical procedure performed to remove a diseased or injured liver from one person and replace it with a whole or a portion of a healthy liver from another person, called the donor.

Is liver donation safe?

There is a small risk of death for the donor: this is estimated at 1 person in every 200 (for right lobe donation) or 1 in 500 (for left lobe donation). Most complications are minor and include infections (e.g. chest, wound or urine) and, rarely, bleeding, bile leaks or blood clots.

What is the procedure of liver transplant?

Living-donor liver transplant

Surgeons first operate on the donor, removing the portion of the liver for transplant. Then surgeons remove your diseased liver and place the donated liver portion in your body. They then connect your blood vessels and bile ducts to the new liver.

What cause liver to die?

Cirrhosis can be caused by a number of conditions, including long-standing inflammation, poisons, infections, and heart disease. For 30-50% of cirrhosis cases, no cause can be found.

How quickly can liver disease progress?

The cirrhotic process can take from weeks to many years to develop, depending on the underlying cause and other factors, including patient response to the disease process. For example, chronic hepatitis C infection can take up to 40 years to progress to cirrhosis in some people.

What are the four stages of cirrhosis of the liver ?

Stages of liver failure

  • Inflammation. In this early stage, the liver is enlarged or inflamed.
  • Fibrosis. Scar tissue begins to replace healthy tissue in the inflamed liver.
  • Cirrhosis. Severe scarring has built up, making it difficult for the liver to function properly.
  • End-stage liver disease (ESLD). ...
  • Liver cancer

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Liver Conditions
Types of liver disease include:

  • Hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver, usually caused by viruses like hepatitis A, B, and C. Hepatitis can have non-infectious causes too, including heavy drinking, drugs, allergic reactions, or obesity.
  • Cirrhosis: Long-term damage to the liver from any cause can lead to permanent scarring, called cirrhosis. The liver is then unable to function well.
  • Liver cancer: The most common type of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, almost always occurs after cirrhosis is present.
  • Liver failure: Liver failure has many causes including infection, genetic diseases, and excessive alcohol.
  • Ascites: As cirrhosis results, the liver leaks fluid (ascites) into the belly, which becomes distended and heavy.
  • Gallstones: If a gallstone becomes stuck in the bile duct draining the liver, hepatitis and bile duct infection (cholangitis) can result.
  • Hemochromatosis: Hemochromatosis allows iron to deposit in the liver, damaging it. The iron also deposits throughout the body, causing multiple other health problems.
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis: A rare disease with unknown causes, primary sclerosing cholangitis causes inflammation and scarring in the bile ducts in the liver.
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis: In this rare disorder, an unclear process slowly destroys the bile ducts in the liver. Permanent liver scarring (cirrhosis) eventually develops.

The classic symptoms of liver damage include the following:

  • Pale stools occur when stercobilin, a brown pigment, is absent from the stool. Stercobilin is derived from bilirubin metabolites produced in the liver.
  • Dark urine occurs when bilirubin mixes with urine
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and/or whites of the eyes): This is where bilirubin deposits in skin, causing an intense itch. Itching is the most common complaint by people who have liver failure. Often this itch cannot be relieved by drugs.
  • Swelling of the abdomen, and swelling of the ankles and feet occurs because the liver fails to make albumin leading to hypoproteinemia and ultimately disturbances in oncotic pressure. 
  • Excessive fatigue occurs from a generalized loss of nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
  • Bruising and easy bleeding are other features of liver disease. The liver makes clotting factors, substances which help prevent bleeding. When liver damage occurs, these factors are no longer present and severe bleeding can occur. 
  • Pain in the upper right quadrant can result from the stretching of Glisson's capsule in conditions of hepatitis and pre-eclampsia.
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