Types of Pediatric Liver Transplants

A liver transplant provides your child with a healthy liver from a donor. The donor is a person who gives your child a liver. There are two main types of liver transplants: deceased donor and living donor.

Deceased Donor Pediatric Liver Transplant

  • A deceased donor liver transplant provides your child with a liver from a person who has recently died.
  • This is the most common type of liver transplant.
  • To receive a deceased donor liver, your child is placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) list. UNOS matches deceased donors and patients waiting for a liver. The organs are sent across the country.

Living Donor Pediatric Liver Transplant

  • A living donor is a person who gives your child part of his liver.
  • A living donor transplant takes only a part of a person’s liver for your child.
  • The liver is the only organ that can regenerate, or grow back. When doctors remove part of a donor’s liver, the rest of the liver will grow back within a few weeks. Even when more than half of the liver is removed, the donor can recover well.

Note: Your child is placed on the UNOS list even if there is a living donor available. This increases his chances of getting a liver as soon as possible.

Other Types of Pediatric Liver Transplants

Split Liver Transplant

  • During a split liver transplant, a deceased donor liver is cut into two parts. The larger part is given to an adult or larger child while the smaller part is given to a small child or infant.
  • Since 1997, approximately 52 percent of all liver transplants performed at Children's have been partial transplants, such as split-liver donors or living donors.

Partial  Graft

  • A liver is “cut down” to a smaller size and then given to your child.

ABO-Incompatible Liver Transplant

  • ABO-incompatible liver transplants involve transplants across blood types.
  • When pressed for time or faced with a lack of deceased donors, ABO-incompatible transplants improve donor availability considerably.
  • While ABO-incompatible liver transplants were previously discouraged; improved surgical techniques, changes in preservation solutions and new medications have now made incompatible transplants an acceptable course of treatment for end-stage liver disease in children.
  • Children's liver transplant team is at the forefront of its field with ABO-incompatible transplants, performing more than any other program in the country.

Auxiliary Liver Transplant

  • A liver transplant that places part of a healthy deceased or living donor liver next to your child’s liver. The healthy liver is connected to vital blood vessels and organs. It helps do the work of your child’s liver until he is well. Sometimes, the healthy liver can be removed after your child’s liver begins to work again.

Hepatocyte Liver Transplant

  • A non-surgical approach that transplants liver cells from a donor liver through a catheter into the recipient’s liver.