How do surgeries treat biliary atresia?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The most common surgery used to treat biliary atresia is the Kasai procedure. This surgery completely removes the defective bile ducts from the newborn's liver and attaches a segment of the intestinal tract instead. This is meant to allow bile to drain properly from the liver, mitigating the risk of further jaundice or eventual cirrhosis. The Kasai procedure works best before the child is three months old and without this surgery an affected child is unlikely to live beyond two years of age.

While the Kasai procedure can achieve success, if the surgery does not bring the outcome it needs to, the child will eventually need a liver transplant. This would need to be done in the first two years of life to have the best chance of success. Many newborns with biliary atresia can live to adulthood with a liver transplant.

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