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Stages of Liver Failure

Posted On : January 08, 2013

The liver is probably one of the most forgiving organs when it comes to recovering from an injury. It can take a significant amount of “non structural” injuries and still be able to carry out its function. It is the only solid organ capable of regenerating its volume after a major resection. When a part of the liver is removed, it is within a matter of months that the size of the remaining liver increases to replace the removed portion.

A liver injury can be caused by a number of elements. In regards to weight loss surgery, these elements include alcohol consumption, high doses of Tylenol, excessive weight loss, and the most significant condition called steatohepatitis, also known as “fatty infiltration”. Steatohepatitis causes structural changes in the liver. Over time, the structural changes cause the liver to progress to an end-stage liver disease that requires a transplant. Structural changes to the liver injury are irreversible.


The healthy liver is normally soft and beefy-red with a very smooth and shiny outer layer.

How does steatohepatitis harm the liver? As the fat concentration of the liver increases, the liver loses its sharp edge and becomes distended with small pockets of fat that are visible as yellow satellite lesions.


This is gross evidence of steatohepatitis, which is commonly known as fatty infiltration of the liver. The most common cause of this is obesity, in addition to medications such as insulin that are used to treat diabetes.  If the underlying cause of steatohepatitis is not addressed, then the liver damage will progressively continue to worsen and eventually be resolved in the structural changes to the liver.




If the physiologic injury to the liver continues unabated, it will develop irreversible cirrhosis. An increasingly continuous insult to the liver will result in sudden liver failure, which will require a liver transplant.

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