The operating room team consists of pediatric surgeons, anesthesiologists, registered nurses and technicians. The operating room staff will call for your child one hour before liver transplant surgery, so the anesthesiologist and nurses can prepare your child for the operation. They will give your child medication through the intravenous line to help him sleep. Once he's sleeping, the staff will insert two more IV lines and an arterial line, as well as a central line inserted into a large neck vein. Blood can be drawn from this line, and it may remain in place during your child's hospital stay. In addition, the team will monitor your child's:
The pediatric surgeon will begin the operation by cleaning your child's skin with an antiseptic, then place drapes on your child to protect the area on which she is operating. The surgeon will remove the diseased liver and send it to the laboratory for examination, then sew the healthy liver in place. When all the vessels are connected, the new liver will look pink and feel soft and blood will flow into the new liver.
Next, the surgeon will connect the bile ducts. If your child is small or has had a Kasai procedure, the surgeon will connect the piece of intestine that was fashioned into a bile duct during the Kasai procedure to the bile duct of the donor liver to allow bile to drain from the liver. Otherwise, the surgeon will connect the bile ducts to each other. Throughout the operation, your child may receive blood products, only if necessary, to replace any he may have lost.
The entire procedure may take four to eight hours, after which your child will be transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Reviewed by: Elizabeth B. Rand, MD
Date: November 2012