Your child’s pediatrician will begin checking for biliary atresia by completing a physical exam. They will ask questions about your child’s personal and family medical history. From there, they may order one or more of the following tests to confirm biliary atresia:
If biliary atresia is suspected, certain specialists may be involved, including gastroenterology and pediatric surgery. These teams may then perform one or both of the following more invasive tests:
If your child has biliary atresia, the first treatment step is usually a surgery known as the Kasai procedure. During this procedure, your child’s surgeon removes their damaged bile ducts and replaces them with a loop of your child’s own small intestine. Sometimes, this procedure is enough to treat biliary atresia. In other cases, children with the condition will eventually need a liver transplant. During a liver transplant, the surgeon removes your child’s diseased liver and replaces it with a healthy donor liver.
Your child may need to make certain dietary adjustments prior to having the Kasai procedure or in the months following, including: