A local hospital yesterday announced the success of an innovative surgery on a 2-year-old child with severe liver cancer.
Instead of removing the entire cancer-ravaged organ — only 32 percent of the liver was healthy — a new procedure allowed the child to have a functioning and undamaged liver that would grow to 85 percent of its original size.
The Children's Hospital of Fudan University said the child, who suffered from hepatoblastoma, was saved through a procedure called ALPPS (associated liver partition and portal vein ligation for staged hepatectomy).
It was the first time that ALPPS surgery was carried out on a child in China, the hospital said.
Doctors first divided the liver and the portal vein supplying blood to it into two sections. One part of the vein went to the damaged area, the other to the healthy part.
The former was then tied, enabling it to gradually shrink in size, while the healthy area rapidly grew in size.
After nine days, the damaged liver of the child, called Yue Yue by the hospital, was removed.
Yue Yue's liver had been ravaged by a large tumor.
"The traditional method to cut the tumor through surgery may lead to hepatic failure because the remaining part cannot meet the demands of the body," said Dong Kuiran, deputy director with the surgical department of the hospital who led the surgery.
A second surgery was needed to remove the damaged liver.
No blood transfusion was needed and the child is now in a stable condition.