Intestinal Transplant in Children

Small Bowel Transplant for Intestinal Dysfunction

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An intestinal transplant may be a surgical option to treat your child with intestinal failure due to a variety of causes, including but not limited to short bowel syndrome, defective gastrointestinal motility, abdominal trauma, and congenital intestinal disorders of malabsorption. Duke is among a small number of U.S. Hospitals with experienced transplant surgeons who perform intestinal transplants on children. Our team will help you and your child through every step of this journey, from managing the condition before transplant through transplant recovery and follow-up.

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The Intestinal Transplant Process

Some intestinal diseases may be treated with intestinal rehabilitation. This can restore your child’s ability to absorb nutrients and may delay or potentially eliminate the need for a small bowel transplant. In other cases, an intestinal transplant may be an appropriate therapy for your child.

Meet the Medical Team

During your child’s evaluation, you will meet with multiple specialists including a pediatric gastroenterologist with specialized transplant training, transplant surgeon, and infectious disease specialist. You will also meet with our transplant coordinator, financial counselor, dietitian, and social worker.

Physical Exam and Tests

Your child will undergo a physical exam and tests including blood tests, imaging – for example, ultrasound, echocardiogram, and CT scan, and special procedures such as an endoscopy or liver biopsy.

Transplant Education

You and your child will participate in transplant training to learn more about the process and expectations, the medications your child will need, and how to address your child’s physical and emotional needs before and after transplant. Your transplant coordinator will provide more intensive education after transplant.

Wait List

If the evaluation shows that intestinal transplantation is appropriate for your child, your child will be listed in the national database maintained by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).


Following intestinal transplant, the intestinal transplant team will closely monitor your child’s response to the surgery. We will prescribe and manage medications to prevent rejection. In addition, we perform routine small bowel biopsies to monitor the transplant. The length of time children spend in the hospital post-transplant can vary from several weeks to several months. You and your child will need to stay close to Duke an additional one to three months, or possibly longer, for follow-up care before returning home.

Our Location

Learn about the family-friendly services provided at Duke Children's Hospital.

Why Choose Duke

On-Call 24/7 for Urgent Matters
An intestinal transplant coordinator is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Additionally, an intestinal transplant doctor is on call at all times for any urgent concerns that arise.

A Team of Experts
The Duke intestinal transplant program is led by experts in hepatology (care of the liver, gallbladder, biliary tree, and pancreas) and transplant medicine and surgery. Some hold leadership positions in national transplant organizations.

Multiple-Organ Transplant Experience
We perform multi-organ transplants that include the small intestine, large intestine, liver, stomach, pancreas, and/or kidney.

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Patient Outcomes at One Year Exceed National Average
According to the Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients, 100% of our patients are alive with a functioning transplant one year after the surgery, compared to a national figure of 81%.

We Help Set National Guidelines and Educate Others
Our doctors and surgeons use new techniques and therapies and help set national guidelines. They also develop educational materials that are used when intestinal transplants are performed internationally.

Best Children's Hospital in NC

Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties.

Patient Resources

This page was medically reviewed on 10/19/2022 by