Do livers really grow back

Liver - structure and function

General information about the liver

The liver, which weighs around 1.5 kilograms, is the largest gland and the central organ for the body's metabolism. Vital nutrients are stored in it and toxins are removed from the blood. Almost 2,000 liters of blood are pumped through the liver every day, which corresponds to 1.5 liters per minute. This means that the total volume of blood flows through the liver 350 to 500 times a day.

The liver has the extraordinary ability to regenerate: If parts of the organ are removed, they can grow back again. For this reason it is z. B. possible to surgically remove a severely damaged liver and replace it with parts of a liver from a living donor (living liver donation). Typically, in a live liver transplant, 50-60% of the donor's liver is transplanted into the recipient. In both the donor and the recipient, the liver begins to grow after just a few days, until it has reached its original size again after about 2 months. In addition to this transplantation of a liver lobe from a living donor - an operation that is only performed at special centers with appropriate experience - the liver of a deceased donor is much more often transplanted if the recipient's own liver suddenly fails (due to drugs, poisons, viruses) or destroyed by a chronic illness.

Hepatology is the "science of liver diseases" and includes diseases of the liver, gall bladder and biliary tract. It is a specialty of gastroenterology. Important liver diseases (hepatopathies) are, for example, inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), fatty liver (steatosis) and a tumor in the liver (hepatoma).