A liver transplant is a medical procedure in which the diseased liver of a person is replaced with that of a healthy liver from another person, who may be alive or deceased.
Over the past years, liver transplant has been seen as a common and accepted method of treating severe liver diseases in children. The medical community has seen a huge growth in the development of techniques to overcome the challenges faced during a paediatric liver transplant. Since the first case of liver transplant in children, survival rates have improved significantly due to the advances in surgical techniques, more education on paediatric intensive care, organ preservation, and so on. Now, one can expect long term survival rates among children and a decreased need for re-transplantation.
Why Your Child May Require a Liver Transplant
Since liver transplant is an intricate surgery, it is seen as the absolute last resort in liver disease. If your child is suffering from a serious liver condition and there are chances of it being fatal, your doctor might recommend a liver transplant.
Some reasons why your child needs a liver transplant:
Biliary atresia - A rare disease seen in infants in which there is a blockage in the ducts carrying bile from the liver to the gallbladder
Genetic and hereditary conditions of the liver
Sudden liver failure
Hemochromatosis – excess build-up of iron in the body
Alpha-1 anti- trypsin deficiency
Types of Liver Transplant Procedures -
Orthotopic Liver Transplant -
This is the most commonly used transplant around the world. In this type of liver transplant, the entirety of a healthy liver is taken from a recently deceased person and put into the body of the recipient. The donor is someone who has pledged his organs for donation before he or she passed away. It is made sure that the donor has no transmissible disease that can be passed on to the recipient.
Living Donor Transplant -
In this transplant, a part of the healthy liver is taken from a person, alive and willing. The donor is the first person to undergo surgery in which a lobe is removed from the liver.
Usually, the left lobe is removed for the transplant when the recipient is a child. This is because the size of the left lobe of the liver is smaller and better suited.
After the lobe is removed, the recipient undergoes transplant surgery in which surgeons replace the infected liver with the healthy donated liver, making connections with blood vessels and bile ducts.
After the surgery, the transplanted lobe regenerates itself into a healthy and fully functioning liver.
Split Liver Transplant-
In split donation, a liver taken from a recently deceased donor is taken and put into the bodies of two recipients. This type of transplant is only possible if one of the two recipients is an adult and the other is a child. Then, the right liver lobe from the donor is placed into the body of the adult and the left lobe is received by the child.
Risks of Liver Transplant in Children
Though the medical community has advanced significantly in the field of liver transplants, it is undeniable that the surgery is complicated and comes with its risks. Some of these risks are,
Child’s immune system rejecting the new liver
Blockage of blood vessels
Blocked bile ducts
Leakage in bile ducts
The transplanted liver failing to work for a short duration immediately after the surgery
Since a transplanted liver is a “foreign object” your child’s immune system may think of it as a threat and attack it, causing the body to reject the new liver. Symptoms of rejection of the liver include but are not limited to, fever, jaundice, dark coloured urine, light coloured stool, swollen belly, extreme fatigue, and so on. Since it is not easy to know if your child is undergoing rejection, it is extremely important to be aware of all the symptoms related to it.
In order to prevent this from happening make sure your child takes the anti-rejection medicines or the immunosuppressants prescribed by your doctor.
Before your child can be put on the waiting list for receiving a donor's liver, it is important for the doctors to make sure your child goes through a full evaluation, just to be sure if your child actually needs a liver transplant or not.
This evaluation can include:
Psychological evaluation – This is a necessary step to identify the psychological needs of the recipient.
Blood tests – This is done to find the best donor match for your child and to make sure the liver will not be rejected by their body after the transplant.
Diagnostic tests – These tests evaluate your child’s liver and other general health. Diagnostic tests include X-rays, ultrasounds, biopsie, etc.
Every transplant centre has a few rules about who is eligible for a transplant and who is not. For example, the child is not allowed to go through the transplant if he or she has:
untreatable chronic infection
severe heart problems
serious condition besides liver disease
Treatments Offered by CARE Hospitals
The doctors at CARE Hospitals are well-trained in dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of your liver and ensure your transplant journey is safe and convenient for you both during and after the surgery.
Liver Transplant Surgery
Our doctors are quick to identify any danger in the liver of your child and act on it. Since liver transplant is major surgery, we make sure your child is completely eligible and see it as the absolute last resort. The donors in case of liver transplant can be both living or dead.
CARE Hospitals provide children undergoing a liver transplant with all the required medications and make it their priority that their body does not reject the transplant.
How Can CARE Hospitals Help?
CARE Hospitals are well reputed and flaunts state-of-the-art infrastructure supported by a team of well-trained and qualified doctors that can perform your liver transplant, along with others with ease. At CARE Hospitals, our doctors carry out a comprehensive analysis before reaching any conclusion.
Our doctors not only help your child during the surgery, but also with the recovery, making sure your child takes all the necessary precautions that will help them have a full-functioning, healthy liver.
Our aim is to make you feel welcome and comfortable the moment you walk in through our doors and our team of friendly professionals make this a reality. You can expect your condition to be treated in a positive and convenient environment.
If you cannot find answers to your queries, please fill out the enquiry form or call the number below. We will contact you shortly