The France defender made a remarkable recovery from surgery to remove a tumour to play in the Champions League final last season, but will now have to go under the knife again
The French ace fought off the effects of a liver tumour in 2011 and returned in time to play his part in the club's Champions League final victory over Manchester United last May.
However, the Catalans announced on their official website on Thursday that Abidal now requires further surgery.
"In the upcoming weeks, the player will undergo a liver transplant in light of the evolution of his liver," a club statement read.
"The transplant has been an option right from the start of his treatment a year ago.
"At the request of the player, Barcelona ask for discretion and the utmost respect for the player's privacy."
Barca captain Carles Puyol was quick express his support for his Blaugrana colleague.
"The main thing now is for Abidal to recover," the Spain international said during a press conference on Thursday.
"The team is united; we'll stand by his side. His attitude is an example for us."
With the former Monaco player set to undergo surgery it is being reported that he will miss this summer's European Championships.
According to RMC, France's medical team have already been informed that the defender will play no part in their Euro 2012 campaign and the radio station claimed that there are even doubts over whether the 32-year-old will ever return to top-level football.Abidal, who has been capped 61 times by his country, joined Barcelona from Lyon in 2007.