Liver Transplant Surgery is one of the most expensive surgery costing anywhere between USD 40000 – 60000 across various private superspecialty hospitals in India. A large number of patients from India and abroad need this surgery in the event of Liver Failure or Liver Cirrhosis. Not many hospitals in India have a well developed Liver Transplant Programme and therefore the choice is automatically narrowed down for the patient. The top hospitals which are doing good numbers of Liver Transplant Surgeries would be Nanavati Hospital at Mumbai, Global Hospital, Chennai and Bangalore, Max Hospital New Delhi and Medanta Medicity at Gurgaon.
Liver Transplant is a very complicated surgery in which a portion of Liver from a Live Donor is taken and transplanted in the body of the patient. The remaining Liver in the body of the donor grows into a full liver overtime while the transplanted liver in the body of the patient also develops into a full liver. So Liver Transplant Surgery actually involves two surgeries – One is Liver Resection from the body of the donor and the other is Liver transplant in the body of the recipient. The donor has to stay in the hospital for 7-8 days while the recipient has to stay in the hospital for around 30 days. A whole lot of tests are done both on the donor and the recipient to make sure that their health is good and the liver is compatible. The recipient has to take several medications to make sure that the transplanted Liver is not rejected. The two surgeries take around 12-15 hours and is done by a big team of surgeons and associates. We mostly know the name of the lead surgeon like Dr Ankur Garg at Nanavati, Dr Mohd Rela at Global, Dr Arvinder Soin at Medanta, Dr Subhash Gupta at Max are Liver Transplant Surgeons who are renowned all over the world. Little do we know that they have a big team of GI Surgeons, Gastroenterologists, Anaesthetists, Physicians and other specialists to carry out a successful Liver Transplant. The success rate of Liver Trasnplant Surgery at these top hospitals is in the range of 85-90% and each of these teams do around 18-20 Liver Transplants every month.
Cost – The cost of tests which are done before the surgery on both the donor and the recipient are in the range of USD 500-1000 while the cost of the surgery itself would be USD 30000 – 50000. The cost of the same surgery in some of the comparable countries would be USD 300000 in USA which is almost 10 times as that of Indian Cost. The cost in other countries would be in the range of USD 100000-300000 which is also more than twice that of the cost in India. While USA does close to 7000 Liver Transplant Surgeries every year, India is now doing around 1500 Liver Transplant Surgeries per year. Since the number of hospitals doing Liver Transplant in the USA are much more as compared to India, the number of surgeries done by each hospital in the USA is at par with the number of surgeries done by the top Indian Hospital in a year which is close to 250 surgeries. The top 4-5 hospitals in India account for close to 800 Liver Transplant Surgeries in a year.
The number of patients who require Liver Transplant Surgery in India alone are more than 50000, however not all of them are able to afford this costly surgery. Bangladesh which has just started doing Liver Trasnplant Surgery has more than 500 patients who get Liver Transplant Surgery in other countries of which more than 50% opt for India. The need of the hour is to start the Liver Transplant Programme at more and more hospitals in India and to bring to cost down so that more patients can afford this surgery. Lethargic Lifestyle, increased consumption of alcohol, junk food and stressful life all contribute towards the Liver Disease and the increasing number of Liver Cirrhosis patients. The top Liver Transplant Surgeons should not restrict their services at select few hospitals but should train the doctors at other hospitals to carry out this surgery.