Hepatocyte transplantation is making its transition from bench to bedside for liver-based metabolic disorders and acute liver failure. Over eighty patients have now been transplanted world wide and the safety of the procedure together with medium-term success has been established. A major limiting factor in the field is the availability of good quality cells as hepatocytes are derived from grafts that are deemed unsuitable for transplantation. Alternative sources of cell, including stem cells may provide a sustainable equivalent to primary hepatocytes. There is also a need to develop techniques that will improve the engraftment, survival and function of transplanted hepatocytes. Such developments may allow hepatocyte transplantation to become an accepted and practical alternative to liver transplantation in the near future.