Pediatric Liver Transplant
Life is not possible without a working liver. The liver performs important jobs for the body. It cleans your child’s blood, helps digest food and stores vitamins, minerals and sugar (energy sources) until the body needs them.
If your child was born with a liver disorder or develops a chronic liver disease, your doctor may recommend a liver transplant.
What Is a Liver Transplant?
Liver transplantation replaces your child’s liver with a whole or portion of a healthy liver. The new liver can come from a living donor (like a family member) or deceased donor. This treatment can improve your child’s quality of life, but may not cure the cause of his or her liver condition.
The liver is the only organ that can grow back to normal size (regenerate) if a portion is removed. That is why your child can receive part of a liver from a living donor.
Reasons for Liver Transplant
A liver transplant may improve your child’s quality of life. Still, it will not cure the underlying cause of liver disease. Your child’s liver specialist can make a referral for a liver transplant evaluation if he or she has a condition such as:
- End-stage liver disease (chronic liver failure)
- Liver tumor that cannot be removed surgically
- Metabolic liver diseases or inherited diseases that lead to liver failure
Types of Pediatric Liver Transplant
Find specialized pediatric liver transplant options at University Health Transplant Institute — not available at other transplant centers — including:
- Reduced size – Uses a portion of the adult donor liver for a child
- Split liver – Segments the whole donor liver for use by two children
- Whole liver – Transplants the entire donor liver
Benefits of a Liver Transplant
A liver transplant allows your child to live a more normal life after the new organ starts working normally. Your child may benefit from:
- Better overall health
- Longer life
- More energy
Your Child’s Transplant Journey
When you trust us with your child’s treatment, you will not walk this transplant journey alone. The steps to a liver transplant at University Health include:
- First visit, evaluation, testing and selection process
- Joining the liver transplant waiting list or seeking a living liver donor
- Waiting for a liver transplant
- Liver transplant surgery
- Recovery, follow-up care and life after liver transplant
Expect support and resources to help you cope with your child’s physical and emotional needs and find comfort for your whole family during the journey. Access our liver transplant support and resources information to learn more.
Pediatric Liver Transplant in San Antonio
Our goal is to improve your child’s quality of life and provide supportive care for your family and child throughout the transplant journey. Our program offers:
- Complete services and support before, during and after liver transplant
- High-quality transplant care and outcomes
- Tailored care plans to meet your child’s individual needs
- Knowledgeable, experienced UT Health San Antonio physicians along with our bilingual nurses, coordinators and staff
- Paired liver transplantation
- Modern, patient- and family-friendly hospital suites
- Ongoing pediatric care and help transitioning to adult transplant care at University Health
Referrals for Transplant Care
Early evaluation and testing for a liver transplant are key. Ask your child’s doctor to start the referral process to University Health. You can also make an appointment without a doctor’s referral.
Liver Transplant ‘Firsts’ and Quality Outcomes
University Health’s liver transplant program is one of the largest in Texas. It began in 1997 when Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa performed South Texas’ first civilian pediatric liver transplant. Our history of “firsts” in South Texas includes a split-liver transplant from a deceased donor and a living donor liver transplant. Milestones like these show our commitment to advancing pediatric transplant care.
Since then, our skilled surgeons have performed over 2,000 liver transplants, including many successful living donor transplants.
Our transplant quality and recognition information show our program provides high-quality care.
University Transplant Institute is a liver transplant Center of Excellence designated by BlueCross BlueShield Association and LifeTrac.
Our patient survival rates have consistently met or exceeded national expectations. Go to the Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients website to view our current pediatric liver transplant patient outcomes and data.