Biliary Atresia: How We Treat

How can biliary atresia be treated?

Surgery is the only treatment for biliary atresia. The operation is called a hepatoportoenterostomy, or Kasai procedure. Find out what to expect from your surgery at Children's Hospital Colorado.

Kasai procedure at Children's Colorado

During the Kasai procedure, the damaged drainage system is removed and the intestine is connected to the liver with the hope that bile flows again. When this operation is successful, the jaundice disappears and the bilirubin levels (brownish yellow substance found in bile) return to normal.

As bilirubin leaves the body, it gives stool its normal brown color. The operation has the best chance for success when done as early as possible. However, even with early surgery, many infants with biliary atresia still develop liver cirrhosis (permanent scarring of the liver). These children at some point are likely to require liver transplantation. Learn more about the Liver Center at Children's Colorado.

Why choose Children's Colorado for treatment of biliary atresia?

Children's Colorado is one of the only Pediatric Liver Centers in the nation that has six board-certified hepatologists (liver specialists) that have additional certification as pediatric transplant hepatologists. Many of these doctors are currently involved in research studies aimed at identifying the cause of biliary atresia and discovering new potential therapies for treatment. In addition, Children's Colorado surgeons have been performing pediatric liver transplants for over two decades, with excellent patient outcomes.