a person’s healthy liver — as much as 60 percent — and using this partial liver to replace the recipient’s diseased liver. In the weeks to come, both the donor and recipient sections will grow to the size of normal livers.
The exchange, performed on adults since the late 1990s, seems like something out of science fiction.
“There aren’t many other organs in the body that truly have the capacity to regrow,” says Christopher Sonnenday, M.D., surgical director of the Adult Liver Transplant Program at Michigan Medicine. “It is a totally transformative operation.”
It’s also a crucial one.
Studies have shown that “long-term outcomes are as good or better” for living-donor recipients, Sonnenday says. But unique challenges remain. Because it’s only part of a liver, the implantation process for the recipient is more complicated. There also are risks to the donor, such as bleeding and the need for blood transfusion. The mortality rate for the donor, Sonnenday says, is approximately 1 in 500 — a rare outcome, but an important piece of information for donors to consider.
Getting back to business, Al recently narrated a documentary about the life of the Rev. Al Sharpton entitled The Loudmouth. He’s also working on writing a book about his life, creating a podcast, and producing new music.
“If I can influence or help or inspire someone else, I did my job,” he said.