Liver transplants are a lifesaving procedure for children with liver failure (end-stage liver disease) and other serious liver conditions. You can trust your child’s care to us. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is home to one of the nation’s most experienced pediatric liver transplant programs.
Expertise in All Types of Pediatric Liver Transplants
At CHLA, we perform many pediatric liver transplants with excellent outcomes. We’re one of a few pediatric centers in the country with the expertise to transplant livers from both deceased and living donors. For your child, this means a greater chance of finding an excellent donor match faster.
Your child’s liver condition, current health status and the availability of a donor liver determine the type of liver transplant they get. Also, experts in our human leucocyte antigen (HLA) lab conduct advanced tests to make the best organ match possible between your child and the donor. This testing lowers the chances of organ rejection.
Living and Deceased Donor Liver Transplants: What’s the Difference?
Most donor livers for pediatric liver transplants come from people who voluntarily choose to donate their organs when they die (a deceased organ donor). But it’s possible for an adult to donate part of their liver to a child (a living organ donor). That’s because the liver has the amazing ability to grow back (regenerate).
Living donor liver transplants for children
CHLA is among a select few children’s hospitals in the country performing living donor liver transplants for children. Adults—including family members, friends and strangers who want to help (altruistic donors)—undergo testing and liver donation surgery at Keck Medical Center of USC. Our doctors work closely with USC surgeons to ensure a safe and successful donation and transplant process for all. Learn more about living donor liver transplants.
Deceased donor liver transplants for children
Our surgeons expertly perform pediatric liver transplants using livers from deceased organ donors. We have decades of experience matching donor livers to transplant recipients.
There are several different types of deceased donor liver transplant. Our transplant team evaluates your child’s medical needs to determine which procedure offers them the best outcomes.
With a whole-liver transplant, your child receives an entire liver from a deceased organ donor. Whole-liver transplants from adults aren’t as common in young children because adult livers are often too large for a child’s smaller frame. However, teenagers may be good candidates for whole-liver transplants. And younger children may get a whole liver from a deceased pediatric donor.
Segmental liver transplant
When a liver from a deceased donor is a good match—but too large—our surgeons may cut the liver into a size that best fits your child. The transplanted liver segment will grow along with your child. A segmental liver transplant can help your child get a liver transplant faster than waiting for a “right sized” whole liver.
A split-liver transplant enables two people to get a liver transplant from one donor liver. During this procedure, our surgeons divide a liver from a deceased donor into two sections. An older child or teenager at CHLA (or an adult at USC) receives the larger liver section, while a smaller child gets the smaller liver segment. Each liver segment will grow with the transplant recipient. A split-liver transplant can save two lives while shortening the wait time for a liver transplant.
Some children have conditions that affect more than one organ. CHLA is among a select few children’s hospitals with deep experience successfully performing multi-organ transplants. Our liver transplant team partners with experts from our Heart Transplant Program and Kidney Transplant Program.
We have the expertise to perform:
Bloodless liver transplant
We have more than 20 years of experience performing pediatric liver transplants without transfusing blood or blood products. Our team performs bloodless liver transplants for Jehovah’s Witnesses and to honor other religious, medical or personal reasons. We have the experience to perform bloodless liver transplants using a liver from a deceased or living donor.
Liver Transplant Care at Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Our expert surgeons perform all types of pediatric liver transplants. Learn more about the leading-edge care our Liver Transplant Program provides.
The Liver Transplant Program at CHLA welcomes new patients, referrals and second opinions. Please contact us to make an appointment.