Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Liver Transplant Surgery and Recovery


Once a liver becomes available, we will contact your family to come to the hospital. Upon arrival, your child will be admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). The waiting time for the liver transplant surgery can range from a few hours to most of the day.

Seth Karp, M.D.

Seth Karp, M.D., is an internationally-recognized leader in liver transplant surgery.

Liver transplant surgery in children usually takes approximately five hours. Your child will have a large incision across their upper abdomen from side to side, just below the ribs. During your child’s transplant evaluation, our transplant coordinators will provide additional information on what to expect after the surgery.

After the surgery, your child will return to the PICU. Their stay in intensive care varies with age and medical condition and may last a few days or a few weeks.

Following their stay in the PICU, your child will then be moved to a hospital room on 8B, a general and transplant post-surgical unit. Two family members, above the age of 18 years, are permitted to stay with the child overnight. Siblings and family members who are not ill may visit during the day.

While your child is hospitalized, the transplant team will begin your transplant education. You will learn how to take care of your child’s incision, how and when to give medications, and when to contact your transplant team.

During your child’s hospital stay, patients are provided with learning and fun activities from our Child Life Department. Child Life Specialists will help you decide on kid-friendly and family-friendly programs to help your child recover. Your child will have access to play rooms, movie nights in our Children's Hospital Theater, and a computer network with games, movies, and activities.

Most children have a total hospital stay of about seven to 14 days. The stay can be longer under some circumstances. Patients, who live more than one hour from Nashville, will stay locally for two to eight weeks after discharge. Our social worker will help with these lodging arrangements.

Our relationship does not end after surgery. Children receiving a liver transplant will receive follow-up care throughout their lifetime.

Last Edited: June 21, 2017
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