Lurie Children’s has one of the largest and most experienced pediatric liver transplant surgery teams in the country. We provide family-centered care, which means the entire family is involved in the patient’s treatment plan. We use a multidisciplinary team to plan your child’s treatment so that your child gets the most comprehensive care possible. Our team members are from various healthcare specialties, and they bring a variety of experiences to the program. They will all consider your child’s treatment and use their combined perspectives to create a holistic care plan that focuses on the whole person.
Our surgeons have pioneered transplant techniques that many surgeons now use, including the surgical techniques needed for living donor transplants. Our program is a leader is providing split liver and reduced size liver transplants, surgical techniques that allow small children to receive a liver faster by expanding the donor pool. 69% of the liver transplants in the past year at Lurie Children’s have been split or reduced size liver transplants, which is more than double the national percent of 30% of pediatric liver transplants.
Our program puts a unique emphasis on long-term follow-up care. Patients in our program can ask team members questions until they reach adulthood.
We also have a strong commitment to research dedicated to improving the health of children with severe liver disease.
Conditions We Treat
Our liver transplant surgery program is the regional referral center for biliary atresia (the most common reason why children need a liver transplant) and acute liver failure, which is a rapid loss of liver function. We are also known around the world for our work in treating childhood portal hypertension, which is a rare condition of high pressure in the portal vein, the blood vessel that brings the blood from the intestines to the liver.
Learn more about conditions that can lead to liver transplants:
A liver transplant is recommended when a child with serious liver disease will not be able to live without having part or all of the liver replaced. (Partial liver transplant is possible because the liver is the only organ in the body able to regenerate or rebuild itself.).
Lurie Children’s Liver Transplantation Program offers innovative treatments, including:
Split-liver transplant: Two recipients receive parts of one donor liver.
Reduced-size liver transplant: Part of a larger donor’s liver goes to a smaller recipient.
Immunosuppression withdrawal: Medically stable patients may be able to reduce or eliminate the need for immune-suppressing drugs, traditionally given for a lifetime to prevent organ rejection after transplant.
The first evaluation with the liver transplant team may include:
Physical exam and health history
Psychosocial (mental and emotional health) assessment
Imaging and lab tests as needed
Financial needs assessment
Education on liver transplant
After consulting each other, the team will decide if a liver transplant is suitable for your child. If so, we’ll provide support and education through all steps of the transplant process and beyond.
Our surgeons also are skilled in performing hepatobiliary surgeries, such as hepatoblastoma (or liver tumor) resections and the rex shunt, which aim to avoid or delay the need for a transplant.
Our physicians’ expertise has helped establish Lurie Children’s as a world leader in liver transplantation.
Saeed Mohammad, MD, medical director of the liver transplant program, is board certified in pediatric gastroenterology (digestive and liver diseases in children) and pediatric transplant hepatology (pediatric liver transplantation). His clinical and research focus is the rehabilitation and outcomes of children after liver transplantation and his expertise has been highly valuable in building one of the country’s largest long-term transplant follow-up patient cohorts.
The program’s surgical director, Riccardo Superina, MD, is a board certified surgeon who specializes in pediatric transplant surgery. He is internationally recognized for advancing pediatric surgery of the digestive system.
The Siragusa Transplant Center is a national pediatric research center demonstrating Lurie Children’s long-standing dedication to pediatric research. The physician-researchers on our staff have pioneered influential new methods of studying pediatric liver disease and transplantation and receive substantial funding from the National Institutes of Health.