This is the most common source of livers for children. The liver from a donor who has died can be divided into two parts so that two patients can benefit from one donor’s liver.
The liver can be split into two lobes with the right lobe being given to an adult or an older child, and the left lobe or a left lateral segment (part of the left lobe) going to a young child. The cut surfaces are sealed and the new piece of liver grows with the patient.
Living donor transplantation
In many situations, it is possible for somebody the child knows to give him/her part of their liver. The donor has to be carefully assessed to see if they are suitable and not everyone who would like to donate part of their liver is able to. If you would like further information about this, speak to your medical team.
The following types of liver transplant are also undertaken in children, but in smaller numbers:
In this type of transplant, the liver is an appropriate size for the child and the whole liver is used.
Cut down (reduced graft)
A liver can also be made smaller so that it is the correct size for the child who is receiving it; in this type of transplant there is only one recipient.
In certain types of liver disease, particularly some metabolic diseases, part of a donor liver can be transplanted alongside a child’s own liver. The transplanted liver is able to carry out the functions of the liver which are not performed by the child’s own liver. This type of transplant may also be carried out where there is the possibility of the child’s liver recovering, as can occur in some cases of acute liver failure.