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Pediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) Treatment

Changing what children eat and how they exercise can reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). At Children’s Health℠, a team of experts works together to help your child lose weight, improve their lifestyle and stop or reverse NAFLD.

What is treatment for Pediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?

There is no medication for NAFLD, but healthy lifestyle choices can stop the disease and even reverse it.

At Children's Health, helping children overcome NAFLD starts with:

  • An accurate diagnosis, enabled by comprehensive blood tests, advanced imaging technology and (if needed) innovative biopsy techniques.
  • A team approach that brings together GI specialists, dietitians and a psychologist.

What are the benefits of treatment for Pediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?

Children can stop or reverse NAFLD by eating healthier and exercising more. Children’s Health has special expertise in finding ways to help kids make these lifestyle changes long-term.

For example, Children’s Health dietitians know how to teach your child how to crave less sugar and choose healthier foods. We can also teach your child which foods will give them the best fuel to succeed at school.

Together, we’ll come up with a plan that involves fewer calories, less sugar and less fat – and plenty of physical activity.

What to expect with treatment for Pediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?

Before treatment begins, we start with a quick blood test to look for high levels of an enzyme called alanine aminotransferase (ALT). This test can reveal whether a child’s liver has been damaged. Children might need additional tests to look for extra liver fat and to rule out other conditions.

If a child needs a liver biopsy, we offer a type of biopsy that uses no incisions. This technique, called endoscopic ultrasound-guided biopsy, is easier on kids and helps them recover faster.

During the biopsy, your child’s doctor will get a small sample of liver tissue to examine. This biopsy takes less than an hour, and your child won’t be in pain because they’ll be under anesthesia the whole time.

From there, gastrointestinal specialists, dietitians and a psychologist will work together to create a personalized treatment plan that helps your child change their lifestyle, lose weight and reduce liver fat. We see most children for follow-up visits every three or four months, to check their progress and help them stay on track. These visits can continue for a year or longer, depending on how severe each child’s NAFLD is.