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Liver Transplant: A Comparison between India, U.S. and Canada

Liver transplant surgery is a very expensive and a complicated treatment procedure however cost of liver transplant surgery in India is very low as compared to U.S. and Canada.  The surgery is performed for patients suffering from end stage liver cancer or acute liver failure. The procedure involves the removal of the diseased liver (of the recipient) and replacing it with a healthy liver (from the donor).

Liver Transplantation

Liver Transplant in United States and Canada

Currently over 15,000 patients are registered with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) for a liver transplant. As per Mayo Clinics, about one third of the patients have to wait for more than two years for a transplant. Cadaver donor organs are not adequately available, to manage the problem in the United States. As per a study conducted in Canada, several patients on the waiting list for liver transplant die, as they don’t receive timely treatment. Thus liver transplant abroad is a better and affordable option for most of the patients.

Why go to India for a Liver Transplant?

In the recent years, India has emerged as the top destination for medical tourism, as the health infrastructure is rapidly augmenting and the quality of care steadily improving. There are several JCI accredited hospitals in India, which provide the same or better quality of medical care at lower costs. With highly trained and qualified medical teams, the clinical outcomes of the liver transplant surgery are comparable to those in the United States.

A liver transplant surgery in the United States would cost approximately 350,000 dollars. Whereas in JCI accredited hospitals in India, the cost could range from 40,000 to 60,000 dollars. The cost also includes the expenses of travel and stay in India.

Liver Transplant Surgery Procedure in India

  • It is essential to provide all the critical medical records of the recipient to the medical team based in India. The medical team would evaluate these records to verify the patient’s fitness for the procedure.
  • Once the patient is qualified as medically fit for the procedure, the records of the donor are verified and reviewed to ensure that the donor is suitable to make the transfer to the recipient. Legal requirement in India mandates that the donor should be a family member in the age group of 18 to 65 years. India doesn’t allow cadaver transplants for foreign patients
  • Once the primary modalities are confirmed, both the recipient and the donor will travel to India for the surgery. Prior to leaving United States, a series of pathological and imaging studies are conducted, which are required as per the legal laws of both the countries.
  • After the initial phase of intense monitoring the donor is allowed to return back to the United States within 3 weeks, while the recipient is required to stay back for at least six weeks.

Related link: Kidney, Liver & Pancreatic Transplant Surgeon – India

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