Liver Transplant In Singapore

Our team of surgeons is here to guide you through every step of your journey, from understanding your liver condition to exploring treatment options, including liver transplantation. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

Dr Tan Yu-Meng
Director, Consultant General Surgeon

What is a Liver Transplant?

A liver transplant is a surgical procedure performed to replace a diseased or malfunctioning liver with a healthy liver from another person, known as a donor. This life-saving operation is typically the last resort for treating liver failure, a serious condition where the liver stops functioning properly. The liver, being a vital organ, performs numerous critical functions, including detoxifying harmful substances in the body, purifying blood, and producing vital nutrients.

Types of Liver Transplant Procedures

There are several types of liver transplant procedures, which vary depending on the condition of the patient and the availability of a suitable donor. In Singapore, the most common types of liver transplant procedures are:

In this procedure, the liver is obtained from a deceased donor who has been declared brain dead. The liver is then transplanted into the recipient, who is usually on a waiting list for a liver transplant.

A portion of a healthy liver is removed from a living donor, usually a close relative or friend, and is transplanted into the recipient. The liver is capable of regenerating, allowing both the donor and the recipient to have fully functioning livers after the surgery.

A single liver from a deceased donor is divided into two parts and transplanted into two recipients. This type of transplant is typically performed when the liver is large enough to be divided and support the metabolic needs of both recipients.

Who is Eligible for a Liver Transplant?

Not everyone suffering from liver disease is eligible for a liver transplant. Various factors are taken into consideration to determine who makes an ideal candidate for a liver transplant. Some of these factors include:

  • The severity of the liver disease
  • The patient’s overall health and ability to withstand surgery
  • The likelihood of the patient adhering to post-transplant care and medication
  • The absence of other medical conditions that may affect the success of the transplant

Typically, candidates for liver transplants are those suffering from end-stage liver disease, acute liver failure, or specific liver cancers.

Common Reasons for Liver Transplant

There are several common reasons for liver transplants, including:


This is the most common reason for a liver transplant, where the liver becomes scarred and loses its ability to function properly.

Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C

These viral infections can lead to chronic liver disease and eventually, end-stage liver disease.

Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC) and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC)

These are autoimmune diseases that cause inflammation and scarring of the liver.

Liver Cancer

A liver transplant may be the best treatment option for certain liver cancers.

Inborn Errors of Metabolism

Some genetic conditions can lead to liver failure and may require a liver transplant.

Preparing for a Liver Transplant Procedure

Before undergoing a liver transplant in Singapore, there are several steps and evaluations you need to go through. These include:

  • Medical Evaluation: You will undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation to determine your eligibility for a liver transplant.
  • Pre-Transplant Education: You will receive education about the transplant process, post-transplant care, and potential risks of liver transplant.
  • Waiting for a Donor: Once deemed eligible for a liver transplant, you will be placed on a waiting list until a suitable donor liver becomes available.

Post-Transplant Care and Recovery

After the liver transplant procedure, a comprehensive post-transplant care plan will be put in place to ensure the success of the transplant and your recovery. This includes:

Monitoring and Adjusting Medications

You will be prescribed medications to prevent rejection of the new liver and manage any side effects or complications.

Regular Check-ups

Attend regular check-ups with your transplant team to monitor your liver function and overall health.

Lifestyle Changes

You may need to make certain lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco.

Rehabilitation and Support Services

You may require physical, occupational, or speech therapy to help you regain your strength and independence. You may also benefit from support groups or counselling services to help you cope with the emotional aspects of your transplant journey.

Risks and Complications Associated with Liver Transplant

As with any major surgery, there are risks of a liver transplant that you should be aware of. These include:

  • Infection: The immunosuppressive medications required after the transplant can increase your risk of infections.
  • Bleeding and Blood Clots: There is a risk of bleeding and blood clots during and after the surgery.
  • Bile Duct Complications: There can be complications related to the bile duct, such as leaks or strictures.
  • Recurrence of Liver Disease: In some cases, the original liver disease may return to the transplanted liver.

Costs of Liver Transplant in Singapore

The cost of liver transplants in Singapore can vary widely depending on the type of transplant, hospital, surgeon, and other factors.

Our clinics are under the following

insurance panels

For Singaporeans, Singapore Permanent Residents and Foreigners.
Please speak to our friendly clinic staff about using your insurance plans.

Dr Tan Yu-Meng

Director, Consultant General Surgeon

Dr Tan continues to be one of few surgeons in Asia who perform specialized surgery for peritoneal malignancies in Asia.

  • MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery, First Class Honors & Distinction at the University of London) 1994
  • RCSEd (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh) 1999
  • Further training in advanced HPB surgery and liver transplantation at the world renowned Liver Unit of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
  • Further training in living donor liver transplantation in Japan.

With his interest in gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary-pancreatic (GI-HPB) surgery and the treatment of cancer, Dr Tan joined the department of surgical oncology at the National Cancer Centre in 2003 as a consultant.

Dr Tan’s interest in the management of peritoneal surface malignancies was part of his effort in leading a multidisciplinary team from NCC to Washington Cancer Institute to adopt the techniques and protocols of peritonectomy and HIPEC (Sugarbaker procedure) from Dr Paul Sugarbaker in 2009.

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    Liver Transplant In Singapore

    Frequently Asked

    How long does it take to recover from a liver transplant?

    Recovery time varies from person to person, but it generally takes several weeks to several months to fully recover.

    Can a liver transplant cure liver cancer?

    In some cases, a liver transplant can be a curative treatment for liver cancer if it’s discovered early enough and has not spread to other parts of the body.

    What is the success rate of liver transplants in Singapore?

    The success rate of liver transplants in Singapore is generally high, with survival rates of 80-90% for one year and 70-80% for five years.

    What are the requirements to be a living donor for a liver transplant?

    Living donors must be in good health, have a compatible blood type, and have a liver that is large enough to be divided into two parts.

    How long is the waiting list for a liver transplant in Singapore?

    The waiting time for a liver transplant in Singapore can vary depending on the availability of a suitable donor liver, but it can range from several weeks to several months.