All You Need to Know about Pediatric Liver transplant Surgery

pediatric liver

When parents get to know that their child needs a liver transplant, it may leave them feeling scared, angry, or confused.   The reason behind it is simple. They do not have in-depth knowledge of why their child needs a new liver or where the new organ will come from. They keep thinking about all these months ahead, and the result will be obvious. It fills them with fear and apprehension.

However, today, the medical industry is booming with the latest surgical techniques and anti-rejection medicines. It has significantly increased the chances of a positive outcome for pediatric liver transplant surgery. Most kids who undergo these procedures continue to live normal healthy lives once they recover from surgery.

This article focuses on what parents can expect if their child needs a liver transplant.

What is a Pediatric Liver Transplant?

A liver transplant is the last-resort treatment approach for a child who has end-stage liver disease.  In a pediatric liver transplant surgery, a surgeon replaces a diseased liver with a healthy liver from a donor. The new liver may be of a recently died organ donor, or a living person can also donate a part of his/her liver.

When a liver comes from the living donor, and a doctor performs surgery, it is called a living donor liver transplant surgery. This living donor may be a family member, or it may be a person who is not related to your child but has a matching blood type.

People who donate the part of their liver can live healthy lives with the liver that is left. The only organ in the human body that can regenerate it's lost or damaged tissue in the liver. The donor who has donated the part of his/her liver will soon grow back to standard size after surgery. The part that a child receives will also expand to normal size in a few weeks.          

Why is a Liver Transplant Recommended?

Usually, a doctor recommends liver transplant for children who have life-threatening liver dysfunction and will not be able to live without liver replacement. The most common liver disease in kids who prerequisite liver transplant is biliary atresia. It generally occurs in newborns.

Other conditions may include:

  • Liver cancer
  • Unexpected or acute liver failure
  • Genetic and hereditary liver diseases
  • Conditions existing at birth, like Alagille syndrome or cholestasis disorders
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Too much iron buildup in the body, which can damage the liver, known as hemochromatosis.
  • Alpha-1 anti-trypsin

What Happens Before, During, and After the Transplant?

1 – Before surgery

Generally, if a child’s doctor thinks that a child is a right candidate for surgery, then a surgeon will refer a child to a transplant centre.  Here, there will be a team of surgeons, liver specialists, nurses, nutritionists, psychologists, and social workers.

They will conduct a pre-transplant evaluation through various tests such as blood tests, imaging tests, physical examination, and liver biopsy. If the team determines liver transplant is the best option for a child, and parents and the team agree to move forward, then the transplant team will perform surgery.

2 – On surgery day

Once the liver is available for a child, a child will be told to go to the hospital right away. This call can occur at any time. Therefore, parents and a child should always be ready to go to the hospital. Transplantation surgery may take several hours. It will vary depending on a child’s case. The procedure may vary as per a child’s condition and the provider’s practices.

3 – After surgery

After the surgery, the transplant team will send a child to the ICU. Therefore, they can observe him/her carefully. The duration that a child will spend in the ICU will vary based on a child’s condition.

After a child is steady, he/she will be sent to the specialized hospital unit where they care for liver transplant patients. Here, parents will learn about how to care for their children. It includes info about medications, physical activity, follow-up, diet plan, and other instructions from a child’s transplant team.

What are the Potential ComplicationsLinked with a Liver Transplant Surgery?

Rejection is one of the most common problems after transplant surgery. By prescribing some anti-rejection medication, a doctor can control rejection. The transplant team will decide which medicine is best for a child, and a child needs to take this medicine exactly as prescribed.

Final Words

Concisely, living with a transplant is a life-long procedure. When a child gets a liver transplant, a child must take prescribed medications such as anti-rejection or other medicines properly. Therefore, the transplanted organ remains in tip-top condition. Parents and a child must keep in touch with the transplant team and learn about anti-rejection medications – what they do, the signs of rejection, and everything else related to a pediatric liver transplant. Therefore, a child can eventually care for himself/herself independently.         

Remember, every child is unique, and every liver transplant surgery is different. However, results consistently improve as doctors and scientists learn more about how the body deals with transplanted organs and look for ways to improve pediatric liver transplantation.

Similar Articles

5 Ways Leading to Living a Healthy Life By Setting a Healthy Routine to Follow

In the fast-paced world of today, the focus on the health and well being of ourselves is often not considered necessary. But it surely holds importance to live a longer and healthy life. Before you start leading yourself to a healthy life, there are multiple aspects that must be considered before taking any decision further.

Three people sitting on a a bench. Two are elderly men and one is a woman. The middle man is holding a stress ball while the woman has her hand on his wrist.

Ageing is a daunting process for most people, albeit some more than others. However, as we age, it is important that we are taking proper care of ourselves so that we can keep living a happy and healthy life as we age.

6 Reasons to Visit a Podiatrist Before Summer

Our feet work hard for us- taking us everywhere we need to go, providing balance and handle a lot of wear and tear daily. The hot summer months are especially stressful for our feet because of the heat and moisture.

drug addiction

Before the birth of a child, most people carry a heavy burden. That’s because they realize the responsibility that comes with the birth of a child. Typically, the choices that a parent makes from the moment they conceive until childbirth will influence how the child will turn out.

Best Hearing Aids Brands In 2020

Hearing aids are constantly developing and with a simple search you’ll find that there are more and more small hearing aids online for purchase - discreet hearing aids have become increasingly popular and the original hearing aids which were bulky and uncomfortable to wear have become just a memory!

Sheepskin health benefits

Sheepskin is popular these days because of numerous reasons. Winter is one of the major reasons for its popularity. There is no doubt that sheepskin products are amazing for use in winters. These are known as the best comforters and warmers for some amazing reasons

lemon water

Celebrities and social media influencers have promoted the advantages of drinking lemon water for years. Some naturopaths even follow it. They do not start their day without a drinking glass of warm water with lemon juice.

Bottom half of a woman's face while she is one the phone.

Reaching out for help may sound like the simplest thing in the world, but, when you are struggling with your mental health, reaching out might seem impossible. Luckily, there are options available to help make reaching out feel less daunting for everyone, no matter the struggles they face.

5 Facts About the Pain You Probably Didn't Know

A sensation of pain is not always preceded by physical impact. People feel pain not only when falling onto the asphalt from a bicycle but also after a betrayal or loss of a loved one.