How is biliary atresia treated?
Biliary atresia is initially treated with the Kasai procedure, which is a surgical procedure that provides a way for bile to flow out of the liver into the intestine. In this procedure, the surgeon removes the damaged and scarred bile duct and connects the intestine to the liver to allow the bile to flow. When this operation is successful, the jaundice and pale-colored stools disappear, and the bilirubin levels in the blood return to normal. Bilirubin is an orange-yellow pigment made in the liver to breakdown hemoglobin.
This operation has the best chance for success when it is performed as early as possible. After the operation, we prescribe medications such as ursodiol to aid in bile flow and optimize the child’s growth and health.
The Kasai procedure is not always a permanent solution to the complications associated with biliary atresia. Even with early surgery, many infants still develop liver cirrhosis, which is permanent scarring of the liver. At some point, these children will require liver transplantation. Approximately 50% of children with biliary atresia will require liver transplantation by 2 years of age.
Why choose us for biliary atresia treatment?
Children's Colorado has one of the largest Pediatric Liver Centers in the nation, and our liver specialists are nationally and internationally recognized experts in pediatric liver diseases, including biliary atresia. Our surgeons have been performing Kasai procedures since 1975 and pediatric liver transplants since 1989, both with excellent patient outcomes.