The Scottish Liver Transplant Unit (SLTU) opened in 1992 and has now performed over 900 liver transplants. During this time there have been major changes in both organ donation and transplantation. Currently liver transplantation is restricted by limited organ supply. Scotland has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in Europe and one of the most rapidly increasing rates of cirrhosis. The consequent waiting list mortality has driven innovations including increasing use of marginal grafts, organs donated after cardiac death, split-liver transplants and the development of living-donor liver transplantation. To maintain liver transplantation, there is an urgent need to increase organ donation rates and to find novel treatments which optimize outcomes from marginal grafts. This review addresses the surgical aspects of liver transplantation and how these have evolved over the two past decades. Major changes are currently underway in organ donation organization, and there is continuing refinement of organ treatment and storage. A number of measures to maintain and improve organ preservation and function are currently being evaluated in clinical trials, and cell therapy holds significant potential for the future. Scotland has a rising need for liver transplantation and the SLTU continues to provide high-quality care and to be at the forefront of the latest advances in organ transplantation.