Liver Transplant Treatment & Options

Our Pediatric Liver Transplant Program uses a range of transplantation techniques that allow us to:

  • Provide your child with the best possible chance for a successful transplant
  • Minimize wait times
  • Increase the pool of donor organs available to all patients

We perform:

  • Full graft liver transplantation - The entire liver from a deceased donor is transplanted to a recipient of similar body size
  • Reduced-size liver transplantation - A liver from a larger donor is trimmed to fit a smaller recipient
  • Split liver transplantation - A large liver is split and shared between a small adult and a child
  • Living donor organ transplantation - A portion of a living adult donor’s liver is transplanted (below)
  • Combined solid organ transplantation – The liver and another solid organ(s) are transplanted (below)

Living Donor Liver Transplants

The liver is the only solid organ that can grow and regenerate in both the donor and recipient. This allows living adult donors to donate a portion of their liver. The donated portion is replaced by new, fully-functioning liver tissue within six to eight weeks.

According to Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) data from January 2012, children that underwent a living donor transplant had a 100 percent one year post-transplant survival rate.

All living donors to our patients are currently alive and well. Past donors have included parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and close family friends.

One of the advantages of living donor transplantation is that the procedure can be scheduled at a time that works best for both donor and recipient.

  • For the donor, the major issue is his or her work and family schedule. 
  • For the recipient, the principal constraint is health condition and control of complications.

For example, if the child develops a sudden fever, the procedure will be delayed until the cause is found and any potential infection controlled.

Combined Solid Organ Transplants

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital provides highly specialized care to expectant mothers and children with very serious illnesses. In addition to our liver transplant program, the hospital also provides kidney, intestinal, heart and lung transplants.

We work closely with all of the hospital’s transplant programs to provide combined solid organ transplants. We perform combined liver-kidney, liver-intestine, liver-heart and liver-lung transplants for a variety of illnesses in children.