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How does liver transplantation treat biliary atresia?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Liver transplantation treats biliary atresia by providing a new liver for the affected person. The malfunctioning liver is removed and a healthy liver, or part of a liver from a live donor, is put in its place. Liver transplantation has improved dramatically in the last years, allowing pieces of an adult liver to be transplanted into a child's body. Following the transplant, the child's health must be monitored closely to make sure the liver is working properly and the child's body is accepting the new organ. Drugs called immunosuppressants are given to prevent the rejection of the "foreign" organ that has been implanted. These drugs may cause their own problems over time--complications can include diabetes and kidney damage--but children with liver transplants are now living well into adulthood.

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