Abstract Platelet dysfunction contributes to haemostatic defects, possibly leading to bleeding complications. We hypothesised that liver transplantation and liver resection, together with portal clamping time, might be a potential stimulus for platelet activation. Therefore, we determined the expression of platelet GPIIb/IIIa and P-selectin, representing important platelet activation markers, and the thrombopoietin (TPO) serum level after transplantation and resection. Twenty patients [ten that had undergone orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT), ten with liver resection (LRX)] were included in the study. From sequential venous blood samples, surface expression of GPIIb/IIIa and P-selectin was quantified by flow cytometry, and TPO serum levels were determined by ELISA. Baseline GPIIb/IIIa receptor expression on circulating platelets was significantly reduced in the OLT group compared to the LRX group and healthy volunteers. GPIIb/IIIa expression after activation with TRAP-6 increased significantly (P < 0.001) in the LRX group but not in the OLT group. P-selectin expression after TRAP-6 stimul ation increased significantly (P < 0.001) in the LRX group, being comparable to that in healthy volunteers, whereas only a very low increase in the OLT group was found. In the OLT group, TPO serum levels were in the lower normal range and rose above the upper limit of normal values 24 h after reperfusion. These data indicate that neither liver transplantation nor liver resection influences GPIIb/IIIa and P-seletin expression on circulating platelets. There was a lack of expression in cirrhotic patients and unimpaired baseline expression and functional reserve in non-cirrhotic liver -resection patients. After liver transplantation, increasing serum TPO levels, which indicated a recovering graft function, resulted in rising peripheral platelet counts.