Volumetric and functional recovery of the liver after right hepatectomy for living donation

Liver Transpl. 2004 Aug;10(8):1024-9. doi: 10.1002/lt.20182.


Our objective was to study the kinetics of recovery of the liver volume and liver function after right hepatectomy (RH) for living donation, comparing conventional and quantitative liver function tests, i.e., galactose elimination capacity (GEC). A total of 27 donors underwent RH averaging 61% of the whole liver volume. The conventional and quantitative liver function tests, as well as magnetic resonance imaging volumetric studies, were performed preoperatively at postoperative day (POD) 10, 90, 180, and 360. Mean residual volume increased by 88% within 10 days from RH and thereafter did not show any significant variation. After 1 year, only 83% of the original volume was reached. GEC per milliliter of liver volume expressed in percent of initial value (GEC/mL) showed a decrease of 25% at POD10, an increase up to 125% at POD 180, and returned to normal values at POD 360. Liver biochemistries, International Normalized Ratio (INR), and bilirubin returned to normal in 10 days. Cholinesterase showed a similar course like GEC. In conclusion, within 10 days of 61% loss of its initial volume, the liver is capable of regenerating a volume necessary to its function, although it corresponds to only 74% of the initial one. It takes only 10 days to normalize liver biochemistries, while cholinesterase and albumin recover over 90 days. However, a direct measure of the cytosolic liver function obtained by GEC shows that functional recovery occurs much more gradually than the recovery of volume and liver biochemistries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholinesterases / blood
  • Female
  • Galactose / metabolism
  • Hepatectomy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / anatomy & histology*
  • Liver / physiology*
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Liver Regeneration*
  • Living Donors*
  • Male
  • Postoperative Period
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / methods*


  • Cholinesterases
  • Galactose