The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the efficacy of our novel extracorporeal bioartificial liver (BAL) to support rats with complete liver ischemia (LIS) could be improved by extending the culture time of freshly isolated porcine hepatocytes from 14 hours to 38 hours. The results showed that survival as well as porcine hepatocyte integrity improved, the onset of coma delayed, and the ammonia levels decreased in LIS rats of the 38 hour group compared to the 14 hour group, but no statistically significant differences were observed. In the 38 hour group, but not the 14 hour group, the onset of hepatic encephalopathy was significantly delayed and ammonia metabolism significantly improved compared to the LIS rats in control groups that only received a glucose infusion or were connected to a BAL without cells. In conclusion, prolonged hepatocyte recovery favoured all investigated parameters, although not all observed effects were statistically significant. More research is required to find out how long primary hepatocytes should be cultured in a bioreactor for optimal BAL support.