What is biliary atresia like after surgery?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

After an infant has had the Kasai procedure, he or she will have to be on a strict  vitamin-rich diet that does require bile production. Nutrition is important post-surgery to ensure proper development, as babies with biliary atresia suffer some nutritional deficiencies even after surgery. Some babies develop a condition called ascites, which causes their belly to swell with fluid. If not improved in six weeks, it is most likely indicates cirrhosis, and they will require a transplant. At times, an infection may occur in the liver, in which case doctors will prescribe antibiotics.

Cirrhosis will follow if bile drainage and/or blood flow does not occur after the Kasai procedure. The liver becomes hard with scar tissue and nonfunctional. The baby will need to get a new liver and then a series of medications to make sure the body does not reject the new organ. Diet, again, is very important for proper recovery.


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