This technique is an innovative way to treat patients with acute liver failure, in order to allow the patient's own liver to recover. While liver transplantation requires patients to take immunosuppressant medications for the remainder of their lives, auxiliary partial liver transplantation does not. The procedure entails attaching part of a donor liver to the failing liver in the recipient, where it supports the patient, clears toxins, and prevents brain injury during recovery. After the patient's native liver recovers, the donor liver withers in most patients, and the majority of patients are able to withdraw from immunosuppressant medications.
This procedure is particularly suited to children because the regenerative capacity of their livers is optimal. This technique may also be applied in young adults. This is also an advantage to patients with genetic errors of metabolism because the function of their own liver is perfectly normal except for one genetic defect. Auxiliary liver transplants are preferred because the patient is not entirely dependent upon the transplanted liver, should it be rejected.
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