Our patients are on the waitlist for less time before having transplant surgery compared to other centers.
A leader in transplantation
For more than 35 years, people have turned to the lifesaving liver transplant care at UW Health. We perform more liver transplants each year than any other program in Wisconsin and are one of the largest programs in the region.
After almost 3,000 liver transplants, we have a highly experienced team. We serve patients with complex conditions that other programs would deny, and we maintain excellent patient outcomes.
We offer several transplant options, which makes our waitlist times shorter than the national average. If you are already listed at another center, you can dual list with us to increase your chance of receiving an organ.
We are a Center of Excellence for most insurance networks, a certified living liver donor center for adults and children, and the only adult living donor program in Wisconsin. We are a Veterans Affairs approved center for liver and multi-organ transplant. U.S. News and World Report ranks us as Wisconsin’s number one hospital.
Why choose UW Health?
Our experts perform transplants for patients that many other programs would deny, yet our survival rates remain excellent.
The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients provides data about each transplant centers’ volume and outcomes. Learn what the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients means and see how we compare to other programs.
For more than 20 years, our experts have served living liver donors. We are experts in living liver donation and transplantation for adults and children.
Our surgeons are experienced in multi-organ transplants. They work with our experts in kidney, pancreas, heart and lung transplant to manage the complex care of patients who need more than one organ transplanted.
At UW Health, we’re dedicated to improving the liver transplant process. We lead studies on new medications, technology, recovery and post-transplant care. Learn more about our transplant research
Types of transplants
Options to consider
Living donor liver transplant
Living donor liver transplant happens when a person gives part of their liver to someone who needs a transplant. Within months, the liver inside the donor and the new liver inside the recipient grow to their correct sizes.
Living liver donation has many benefits. These include:
Better survival rates: Patients can get a liver transplant before they become very ill.
Healthier organs: Donors go through rigorous testing to ensure they are healthy enough to donate.
Shortened wait lists: Living donation increases the number of available organs. This shortens the wait list for everyone in need of a transplant.
View our living and deceased donor comparisons (pdf)
Living liver donation is either directed or non-directed. Directed donation means the donor knows the recipient. Non-directed donation means the donor’s liver is matched to someone unknown to the donor.
Deceased donor liver transplant
Many people who need a liver transplant receive their new liver from a donor who has died. Deceased donor organs are matched against transplant waitlists in the region.
If you need to have other organs transplanted with your liver, our surgeons have the experience you need. We coordinate care between specialists in kidney, pancreas, heart and lung transplantation.
Dual list with UW Health to shorten your wait time.
Meet our team
A highly skilled team
Our team is committed to working together to provide care tailored to your specific needs. Your team includes experts in hepatology, living donation and liver transplantation. They work closely with other transplant experts to provide extra support.
As part of an academic medical center, our focus on research and education will keep you at the forefront of medicine. We will support you throughout your transplant journey. We provide education to you and your support team. We are dedicated to giving you the best liver transplant care.
The liver transplant process
Before and after transplant
Liver transplantation is a complex process. Our team focuses on making your experience as seamless as possible. We will all work together to make sure you can return to a good quality of life.
Our team will evaluate you to determine whether you’re a good candidate for liver transplant surgery. During this evaluation, you will meet with a hepatologist (liver specialist) and transplant surgeon. These doctors will talk with you about your medical history. They may order lab work or other tests. You will also meet with a dietitian, a financial consultant, a social worker and your transplant coordinator. This team will answer your questions and offer additional information.
If you are a candidate for liver transplant and you choose to proceed, you will be recommended for a living donor transplant and/or placed on the national waitlist for a deceased donor transplant. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) operates this list. UNOS matches organs to patients based on blood type, weight and degree of illness. While you wait, you will have regular visits with the UW Health liver transplant team. During these visits, we monitor your condition and provide support and education.
When a liver becomes available, you will be asked to come to the hospital within a few hours. Your surgery will begin soon after you arrive and may take up to 10 hours to complete. You can expect to spend 10 to 15 days in the hospital following your transplant surgery. During this recovery time, you will learn about new medications, self-care and follow-up.
A liver transplant requires lifelong follow-up care. During the first year, you will visit UW Health regularly for bloodwork and tests. These tests determine how well your new liver is working. Over time, your visits will become less frequent. Our team provides lifelong care and support to help you lead a healthy life.
Top-ranked care close to you
We offer pre- and post-liver transplant services and transplant surgery at University Hospital in Madison.
Our liver transplant team serves patients in six locations in Belvidere, Illinois, and Green Bay, Madison, Marshfield, Waukesha, Wausau, Wisconsin.
Making futures possible
Our patients share their stories.
Patient and support services
Resources for patients and families
We offer many helpful resources for before and after your transplant.
Information for liver transplant patients
National leaders in transplant care
View more information important to every transplant patient.Transplant services