Living Donor Surgery

The Pediatric Living Donor Liver Transplant Surgery

Step 1
The liver transplant surgery is scheduled. Your child may be admitted to Children’s at Egleston the afternoon before the liver transplant surgery.

  • If your child is sick, the transplant surgery will be cancelled.
  • If another emergency occurs, the surgery may be postponed. This includes if the donor is ill.

Step 2
The pediatric-trained anesthesiologist will come to your child’s room to discuss his allergies and types of anesthesia. An anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who takes care of your child’s body functions during surgery. Anesthesia is medicine that allows your child to be in a deep sleep so he cannot see, hear or feel anything, not even pain.

Step 3
The pediatric liver transplant surgeon will talk to you about your child’s liver transplant surgery. You will be asked to sign a consent form for the liver transplant surgery after the pediatric transplant surgeon has explained the liver transplant surgery and its possible risks.

Step 4
The pediatric liver transplant surgery will take place.

  • The liver transplant surgery may take from four to 12 hours.
  • During the liver transplant surgery, there is a room for you and your family to wait.
  • The Children’s Liver Transplant coordinator, an operating room (OR) nurse or a child life specialist will give you updates about your child.
  • The pediatric liver transplant surgeon will talk to you after your child’s liver transplant surgery.
  • If you need to leave the hospital, please tell your child’s liver transplant coordinator. Be sure to leave a number where you can be reached.

Step 8
Immediately after liver transplant surgery, the child will go to the Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

  • Your child will be sleepy from the anesthesia (a medicine that puts your child to sleep during surgery) for up to several days.
  • Your child will have IVs (tubes that deliver medicine through his veins) and a Foley catheter (a small, flexible tube that drains urine from the bladder) to measure his urine. The catheter will stay in place for several days to check his urine output.
  • Your child may stay in the Children’s PICU for two to three days.
  • The Children’s Liver Transplant team and the Children’s PICU staff will take care of your child after the liver transplant surgery.

Visitor Guidelines  

Step 9
After a few days, your child will be taken to a patient care area.

  • The nurses and staff will help your child recover and prepare him to go home.
  • Your child can usually go home about seven to 14 days after the liver transplant surgery.
  • The Children’s Liver Transplant coordinator and nursing staff will teach you how to care for your child at home.

The Donor’s Surgery

Step 1
Once the donor evaluation is complete, the donor’s liver transplant surgery is scheduled at the Emory Transplant Center.

Step 2
The Emory liver transplant coordinator will give the donor information about preregistration and tell the donor when to stop eating and drinking the day before the liver transplant surgery.

Step 3
The donor will be admitted to the Emory Transplant Center.

Step 4
The liver transplant surgery will take place the following morning and may take from three to eight hours.

Step 5
After the liver transplant surgery, the donor will recover at the Emory Transplant Center.