The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Can the liver regrow if a piece is removed?  (Read 54891 times)


  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 422
    • View Profile
Can the liver regrow if a piece is removed?
« on: 23/09/2013 08:18:31 »
Is it true that you can re-grow the liver after chopping a bit off? Could that be the answer for the thousands of people that are waiting? We could turn the population into liver donors.
Asked by Jeremy Langdon

                                        Visit the webpage for the podcast in which this question is answered.

 ...or Listen to the Answer or [download as MP3]

« Last Edit: 23/09/2013 08:18:31 by _system »


  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7653
    • View Profile
Can the liver regrow if a piece is removed?
« Reply #1 on: 11/09/2008 14:27:25 »
With a living donor transplant, a healthy person donates part of his or her liver to the recipient.
This procedure has been increasingly successful and shows promise as a solution to the shortage of liver donors.
It is becoming the most frequent option in children, partly because child-sized livers are in such short supply.
« Last Edit: 11/09/2008 14:30:16 by RD »


  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4772
  • The Naked Scientist
    • View Profile
    • The Naked Scientists
Can the liver regrow if a piece is removed?
« Reply #2 on: 11/09/2008 23:17:46 »
To a certain extent.

Whilst the liver has incredible regenerative potential, that is, it can rapidly replace cells lost to disease, toxins (including alcohol) and senescence, these cells need a connective tissue "scaffold" (known as the ECM - extracellular matrix) to cling to in order to preserve the normal architecture of the liver.

But if a region of the liver is removed then this scaffold goes too, meaning that there is nothing to guide regenerating cells to the correct locations and hence the regenerative capacity can be limited. Otherwise a liver damaged by cirrhosis ought to be able to grow a whole new liver alongside the shrunken damaged one, but this doesn't happen.

For this reason removing a lobe of the liver - to cure a cancer or as a donor organ for instance - does not result in the regrowth of the excised lobe. Destroying some liver cells during a drinking binge, however, is repaired because the inert extra-cellular matrix persists and so new liver cells generated from local stem cells can take up the correct positions to restore the normal structure and function.

« Last Edit: 07/09/2010 08:55:27 by chris »


  • Guest
« Reply #3 on: 22/01/2010 01:30:28 »
You don't need to be closely related to donate part of your liver,  my father was a live donor for my mother (and no they're not cousins ;))  I guess you could say they were made for each other :)


  • Guest
« Reply #4 on: 16/05/2010 06:51:26 »
the liver can regrow it's own scaffolding:

« Last Edit: 07/09/2010 08:55:56 by chris »

Make it Lady

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
  • Hands-on fun for everyone!
    • View Profile
Can the liver regrow if a piece is removed?
« Reply #5 on: 01/10/2010 23:19:16 »
My brother ad liver cancer and they told him that if the tumour hadn't been so invasive they could have removed a significant part of his liver and he would still survive. they also said that you can live with only part of your liver but obviously you have to watch your diet. Some percentage of liver will grow back depending on how much is removed. sadly my brother could not be saved in this way.


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Can the liver regrow if a piece is removed?
« Reply #6 on: 09/03/2014 02:21:54 »
I donated 65% of my liver to my best friend who had HepC.  My liver grew back to 98% of it's original size, but is now covering my stomach and touching my spleen. 
This has caused no issue with me, whatsoever.  But I do have to warn any ultrasound technicians, as they look for the liver to locate the kidneys.


SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines