Pediatric Liver Transplantation
Mount Sinai’s Pediatric Liver Transplantation Program at The Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute is here to provide your child with multidisciplinary care in a comfortable environment designed for you and your child’s transplant-related needs. As one of the largest and most successful pediatric liver transplant centers in the United States, we are proud to say we have always been on the forefront of transplantation services. We are known for having performed both New York’s first pediatric living-related liver transplant and first pediatric liver/intestinal transplant.
Your child may require a liver transplantation for multiple reasons. Some of those reasons may include:
- Acute liver failure
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Biliary atresia
- Chronic hepatitis B and C
- Drug-induced liver disease
- Metabolic liver diseases
- Neonatal jaundice
- Fatty liver disease
- Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
Prior to surgery, your child will undergo an evaluation to determine whether a transplant is needed. The evaluation will include a review of your child’s medical history, a physical exam, blood and imaging tests, and possibly a biopsy (when a small piece of the liver is examined. When a liver is made available, you and your child will be called to immediately visit the hospital.
Once you and your child arrive at the hospital, some additional tests will be performed to ensure that the transplant is a good match for your child. Assuming everything looks good, your child will be prepped for surgery. First, your child will receive anesthesia to make sure he or she will be asleep for the entire procedure. Remind your child that during surgery, they will not feel a thing. The doctors will make a small incision (or cut) in your child’s abdomen where the entire unhealthy portion of the liver will be removed and replaced with the donated, healthy liver. The new liver’s blood vessels and bile ducts will be attached to the necessary organs and then the incision will be closed.
Most liver transplants take between 6 and 10 hours and you will be kept up to date as to how the surgery is going periodically.
After your child’s surgery, he or she will most likely stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks after surgery. During this time, your child will be monitored carefully to make certain that there are no complications and that your child’s immune system does not reject the new liver. Your child will have to take medication called immunosuppressant to ensure that the body accepts the new liver for an indefinite period of time (most likely for the remainder of their life).
The success rates for patients who receive a liver transplant are very high and we will be sure to continue to monitor your child’s progress long after he or she leaves the hospital. Your child should be able to resume nearly all activities, but should be sure to eat healthy, exercise, and stay away from any activities that could potentially harm the new liver.