Intestine Transplant Program

Why choose Seattle Children's Intestine Transplant Program?

Our Intestine Transplant Program provides compassionate, state-of-the-art care to children who have complex digestive conditions.

We treat infants, children, teens and young adults from birth to age 21 for many types of short-term and chronic intestinal disorders in our Liver and Intestine Transplant Clinic.

For children with irreversible intestinal failure, Seattle Children’s has the only program in the Pacific Northwest – and one of only a handful in the country – that has specialists who can perform intestine transplants. We provide care before, during and after the transplant surgery.

Our intestine transplant team is led by the internationally recognized Dr.  Jorge Reyes, who has performed more than 1,000 transplants in children needing new intestines or both liver and intestines.

We also have the only complete Intestinal Rehabilitation Program in the Pacific Northwest. This program helps children restore their intestinal function through diet, medication and nontransplant surgery. With recent advances in intestinal rehabilitation, we have greatly reduced the need for intestine transplants in children.

What is an intestine transplant?

An intestine transplant is the process of removing a patient’s diseased small intestine and replacing it with a healthy donor intestine. A transplant is the preferred method for restoring digestive function to a child who has irreversible intestinal failure.

A common cause of intestinal failure in children is short bowel syndrome (SBS). A number of diseases and conditions can lead to intestinal failure in children. Learn more about how the small intestine works.

The transplant process requires extensive preparation and lifelong follow-up care. To learn about the transplant process at Seattle Children’s, see what to expect if your child needs an intestine transplant.

Our Doctors’ Expertise

Reyes, a surgeon who helped pioneer the field of intestine transplant, is Seattle Children’s director of Transplant Services.

Reyes and the transplant team have provided care for more children with intestinal failure than any other team of doctors in the nation. 

In addition to our transplant doctors, your child’s surgical team includes a doctor (called a pediatric anesthesiologist) who will give your child medicine to sleep during surgery.

Your Other Team Members

Before, during and after the transplant, the same team of doctors, nurses and specialists will care for your child and help your family. In addition to doctors, your team includes:

  • Physician assistants who are licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision.
  • Advanced registered nurse practitioners who holds a master’s degree. They take primary responsibility for the care of our patients.
  • Registered nurse coordinators who arrange for the providers your child will see during clinic visits.
  • Dietitians to ensure your child gets the nutrition they need for growth and development.
  • Pharmacists to prepare medicines prescribed by your child’s doctors. They also will tell you about a medicine’s purpose, effectiveness and side effects.
  • Social workers to help your family understand and deal with the emotional and practical aspects of your child's medical care.
  • Child life specialists who help your child and your family adjust to the hospital experience. They will also help you deal with anxiety and develop positive coping skills.
  • Transplant specialists to schedule visits and help manage insurance coverage and finances.