Pancreas Transplants

What is a Pancreas Transplant?

If your body no longer makes insulin because of your diabetes a pancreas transplant may return you to a healthier life.

After a transplant, insulin is no longer needed to have good control of your blood sugar. Most commonly this occurs with Type 1 diabetes, but it can also occur from severe pancreatitis or other diseases of the pancreas.

As a patient in our program, your care is carefully coordinated by a team of transplant specialists, including endocrinologists (diabetes specialists), gastroenterologists (digestive system specialists), nephrologists (kidney specialists), transplant surgeons, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers and support staff.

Since diabetes is the most common reason for kidney failure, many times both a pancreas and a kidney transplant are needed.

What to Expect

Before the Transplant

Candidates for transplantation generally have Type 1 diabetes that is out of control despite medical intervention. They usually also have nerve damage, eye problems, or other complications.

People with Type 2 diabetes normally are not candidates for pancreas transplantation because they still produce some insulin, so a new pancreas would not help them.

If you opt for a transplant, you may be asked to stop smoking or lose weight before surgery.

After the Transplant

After a successful transplant, you’ll no longer need to take insulin. Instead, the new pancreas will create insulin for you. You can eat a regular diet, too. You’ll have few or no episodes of low or very high blood sugar or insulin shock and your risk for kidney damage will go down.