SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
MILLAR, A J W. Solving difficult hepatobiliary problems in children. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2012, vol.102, n.11, pp. 872-875. ISSN 2078-5135.
Most difficult hepatobiliary (HPB) problems in infancy and childhood result from pathological anatomical/mechanical derangements; therefore, surgery on the liver and bile ducts depends on a detailed understanding of liver structure, function and repair response to injury or disease. The surgeon must be aware of the very diverse range of anatomical variations. Perhaps key to improving the outcome of paediatric HPB surgery is centralised management and associating this with a paediatric liver transplant programme, which adds expertise and, frequently, the added benefit of adult HPB surgical input to paediatric surgical care. In the United Kingdom, this has resulted in excellent measurable benefit, particularly in the management of biliary atresia, but also of choledochal cysts, portal hypertension and liver tumours. These conditions are briefly discussed here, with focus on the technical aspects of operative management.