Pediatric Intestinal Transplant Treatment and Options

Treatment and Options

Children who suffer from intestinal conditions, including permanent intestinal failure due to short bowel syndrome, congenital abnormalities of the intestine, or life-threatening complications, may need an intestinal transplant. An intestinal transplant is an operation to replace diseased or shortened bowel with a healthy bowel from a donor. An intestinal transplant can allow your child to live as normal a life as possible with medications, regular check-ups, and transplant follow-up.

We are unique within the United States in offering many transplant options, including: small bowel transplant only; and combined liver and small bowel or a multi-organ (multi-visceral) transplant, which may include transplant of the intestines in combination with the liver, pancreas, or stomach, depending on the needs of your child.     

Indications for intestinal transplant

A child with a complex intestinal condition may need an intestinal transplant due to:

How our process works

  • We start by performing a thorough intestinal transplant evaluation where you and your child meet with a multidisciplinary team led by our surgical and medical intestinal transplant experts. You will also meet with your transplant coordinator, social worker, and nutritionist to develop a comprehensive plan of care.
  • During the evaluation, testing will be done to decide if a transplant is the best treatment option. Depending on your child’s overall health, it may be necessary to stay in the hospital while the tests are done.
  • Once the decision for transplant is deemed necessary, your child will be placed on the national transplant waiting list. Every step of the way, the transplant team prepares you and your child for transplant. Your child’s dedicated transplant coordinator helps guide you through the transplant process. Once an intestinal match becomes available, our highly experienced intestinal transplant surgeons perform the transplant.
  • From the very beginning, we use the most innovative techniques to help your child’s body accept his or her new intestine, teach you how to support your child, and partner with your local primary care provider or gastroenterologist to provide ongoing transplant care, which helps to account for our transplant center’s impressive survival rates.
  • In the past, children often needed TPN after an intestinal transplant; however, this may no longer be the case. The majority of our long-term transplant recipients eat normally and no longer require catheters, gastrostomy tubes, or ileostomies.