Your liver regenerates?

I heard today that you can donate 1/2 your liver and it’ll be back to normal in a couple weeks.
I didn’t know that.

Weelll … It will regenerate, and this site says it will be back to the same size in about a week (Yeah, I know; it sounds peculiar to me, too). A liver is funny-shaped (site will fade all other parts except the part you click to see). But, AFAIK, they don’t really take half, just a lobe, and not the larger one. The thing is, you can’t live without a liver (Heh! no pun was intended), and although they do rigorous testing of potential liver donors, they don’t like to take the chance of losing the donor. :wink:

It’s the only organ that will expand its mass back to something near original size.
Here’s a second link that gives a more realistic-sounding explanation of the liver’s ability to repair itself.

However, if you have to have part of a lung removed, and what’s left is healthy, it will at least partially regrow. That link, however, is in bioresearcher-speak. :dubious: Not all that readable, IOW. :eek: This site will give you something more readable, if you skip down to Current Summary. The reason I know something about lungs is that my father had to have one lung removed because of silicosis. Doctors told him he couldn’t work in a foundry any longer, and should get outdoors work.

The regeneration of some tissues is one of the things that make medical researchers crazy. There are a number of them that are - have been for years - trying to find out how to stimulate the regrowth of removed or amputated other parts.

That’s what I was wondering - if the liver, why not other parts (pancreas, in my case). I know they know why, but I’ll bet the researchers go crazy trying to find a good cheat. They know the organ (whichever one) grew once, so there should be a way to convince another to grow. After all, they say, it is just tissue. :slight_smile:
I watch way too much PBS. Now I’m off to investigate tygerbryght’s links.

Well, it is true that it can re-grow for a donor…which is why people should consider doing this.

However, my SO has a disease that has made his liver life threatening and had a new procedure done, TIPS, that is basically a liver bypass. They used to do this for an interum procedure while waiting for a liver transplant, but to the surprise of science, it has turned out to be better than a liver transplant! (No meds required after the operation, unlike transplant drugs that half to be taken daily.)

My SO was weeks from his death, and now - two years later - is back to his full weight, back to work, and healthier than he has been in years!

However, his liver will never grow back.

He’s living with no liver? How does that work?

He had Hepatitis…and by the time it was discovered, half of his liver was permanently destroyed. The other half was on its way out, but they were able to stop the progression of the disease. So only a little less than half of his liver is in working condition. The TIPS procedure is a partial bypass shunt that goes through the liver so as to not overexert what is remaining.

By the way, his first doctor mis-diagnosed the problem as “gas” and told him to buy over the counter tablets.

The second doctor diagnosed the condition, but was Ms. Doom and Gloom and was seriously telling him to get his affairs in order before he died. She said there was nothing he could do, short of a liver transpant, and she felt he was not a prime candidate.

At my insistance, we found yet another doctor. He took one look at him, and a few days later he was in the hospital for the surgery, two weeks later he was gaining weight back and after about 3 months, you would never have known he was ill.

Good. I’m glad ne’s doing well. :slight_smile:
Always, always, always get more opinions, right?
Have you read It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong? Pretty similar to your story. Except for the bike stuff, that is. :wink:

I’m glad to hear that TIPS procedure helped! Yes, doctors definitely aren’t Gods and you always should fully explore your options when presented with a grim diagnosis.
The liver has always been my favorite internal organ. It’s amazing that such a complex organ can regenerate itself. I mentioned in a previous thread here where someone was thinking of donating a kidney to a stranger as a purely altruistic act
that being a living liver donor might be a little safer since it can regrow. When you donate a kidney, the remaining kidney can grow larger to compensate, but that’s still leaving you somewhat vulnerable if something should happen to that remaining kidney.