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Pediatric Liver Care

When your child needs care for a liver condition, trust the specialists at University Health to take the most comprehensive approach. Our pediatric liver specialists treat common and complex liver conditions, from biliary atresia to complications after liver transplant.

The liver specialists at University Health offer both inpatient and outpatient pediatric liver care.

Designated Transplant Center of Excellence

University Health is one of only three pediatric liver transplant centers in Texas, and is the only one in southwest Texas. Our pediatric liver transplant one-year survival rate is 100%. We are the only pediatric living donor program in South Texas.

We also offer nonsurgical and non-transplant approaches to your child’s care, when feasible.

Pediatric Liver Conditions We Treat

Symptoms of Liver Disease

Liver disease in children can sometimes be hard to spot. But if your child is exhibiting any of the symptoms below, ask your pediatrician if they may have a liver condition.

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal distension
  • Easily bruises or bleeds
  • Itching
  • Failure to thrive (not gaining weight properly)

Evaluation & Diagnosis

At your child’s first appointment with our liver team, we will review your child’s complete medical history, including lab results. We might order more lab tests, such as blood work, or imaging, such as an ultrasound. This will help our team make an accurate diagnosis.

Then, we will make a plan of care to address the problem. Your child’s treatment plan may involve nutritional adjustments, medication or even surgery. You will have time to ask questions about your options.

As a comprehensive program, we can offer a variety of diagnostic tests to determine your child’s condition, such as:

Pediatric Liver Treatments

Some pediatric liver conditions, like fatty liver disease and cirrhosis, can be treated by making lifestyle changes. Your doctor may recommend:

A pediatric dietitian is available in-house to provide nutritional advice to families of children with fatty liver disease.

Other conditions may require medication, surgery or a minimally invasive procedure.

Minimally Invasive Liver Procedures

Whenever possible, our team avoids performing surgery to correct a liver condition. This way, your child will have less scarring, a quicker recovery and won’t have to go under anesthesia.

We also offer non-transplant surgical approaches for liver tumors and bile duct disorders.

Pediatric Liver Transplant

If your child needs a liver transplant, there is no better place in South Texas to seek care than University Health. Our transplant surgeons have performed over 2,000 pediatric liver transplants since 1997.

We are the only liver transplant program in South Texas to offer living liver donations. This gives your child the opportunity to get a transplant faster than if they were on the deceased donor waitlist.

Pediatric Liver Care Team

Each member of your child’s care team is board-certified in hepatology/pathology/nutrition. We have the expertise to give your child the best care available in the region.


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