During the liver transplant procedure at Cincinnati Children's, your child will be asleep with general anesthesia. Once your child is asleep, the transplant surgeon will make an incision (cut) shaped like a boomerang on the upper part of the abdomen (belly).

The surgical team will remove the old liver, leaving portions of major blood vessels intact. The new liver will be put in place, and the team will connect the new liver’s blood vessels to your child’s blood vessels. 

The new liver's bile ducts will be connected to the intestines. The surgeons will check the connections to make sure they are not leaking, and then close the incision using sutures or special medical staples.

Communication During the Transplant

During the transplant, your family will wait in the surgery waiting area. Since the transplant could take from four to 12 hours, you should bring games, books, snacks and other items to pass the time.

The liver transplant coordinator will talk with you several times during the surgery to provide updates. After the surgery, the transplant surgeons and nurse coordinator will come to the surgical waiting area and talk with you and your family about how the procedure went, and answer any questions.

While the medical team is meeting with you and your family, your child will be taken to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Give the PICU nurses and doctors about 1½ hours to get your child comfortable and safe before you visit.