KidsMD Health Topics

Liver Injuries

  • Overview

    Liver injuries

    The liver is the largest organ inside the body. It sits under the right lower ribs and may go all the way across to the left side.

    What are liver injuries?

    The liver, the largest organ inside the body that sits under the right lower ribs, is soft and can be injured by landing, or being hit, on the right chest or upper abdomen. Not all liver injuries are the same. Some are minor, involving a small tear in the liver and a small amount of bleeding. Other injuries are severe enough to be life threatening, with tears in the very large blood vessels behind the liver.

    How Boston Children's Hospital approaches liver injuries

    The Department of Surgery evaluates and treats infants, children and young adults afflicted with acquired and congenital conditions, including liver injuries that may require an operation. We strive to improve the quality of life for each child entrusted to our care.

    »
    Boston Children's Hospital 
    300 Longwood Avenue
    Fegan 5
    Boston MA 02115

     617-355-5837
     fax: 617-730-0716


  • In-Depth

    How are liver injuries diagnosed?

    Liver injuries may be diagnosed in different ways. Most children with liver injuries have pain in the upper right part of their abdomen, their right back or on top of their right shoulder. Pressing on or under the right ribs may hurt. With a severe liver injury the child may feel lightheaded, be pale, or have a weak pulse, all findings related to internal bleeding. Children who might have a liver injury should be evaluated immediately by a doctor.

    What causes liver injuries?

    Accidents involving a motor vehicle(s) are one of the most common causes of liver injuries. Other causes include falls, sports related incidents or assaults.

    • pain in the upper right part of the abdomen
    • pain on the right side of the back
    • pain on the top of the right shoulder
  • Tests

    There are many tests that may be done to confirm a liver injury, the most common is a computerized tomogram, or CT scan, of the abdomen. This is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images both horizontally and vertically of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body. It not only shows whether or not the liver is injured, but may say how badly it's injured and if any other internal injuries are present.

  • How are liver injuries treated?

    In the past, children with a liver injury had an operation to stop the bleeding. Surgeons have learned that 90 percent of children with a liver injury will stop bleeding without an operation. To get the liver to heal, your child needs to remain in bed in the hospital to be sure the liver has stopped bleeding. Then, after your child is discharged from the hospital, participation in sports or other vigorous activities must be restricted for a period of time to prevent any further injury to the liver. Sometimes, if, for example, your child has gone into shock, or the liver doesn't stop bleeding on its own, an operation is urgently needed to repair the liver.

Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

Patient Information
Date of Birth:
Contact Information
Appointment Details
Send RequestIf you do not see the specialty you are looking for, please call us at: 617-355-6000.International visitors should call International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
Please complete all required fields

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

Thank you.

Your request has been successfully submitted

You will be contacted within 1 business day.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call:

617-355-6000 +1-617-355-6000
close
Find a Doctor
Search by Clinician's Last Name or Specialty:
Select by Location:
Search by First Letter of Clinician's Last Name: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
BrowseSearch
Condition & Treatments
Search for a Condition or Treatment:
Show Items Starting With: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
View allSearch
Locations

Related Conditions

Related Services

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
Close