Pancreas transplantation occurs when a healthy pancreas, donated from a deceased donor (although in rare cases, living pancreas transplantations have been performed), helps “replace” a diseased or dying pancreas in a recipient’s abdomen. The person’s diseased pancreas is not removed during the operation.
One of the main functions of the organ is to make insulin, a hormone that regulates the body’s absorption of glucose. If glucose levels rise to unhealthy levels, type 1 Diabetes can result. If your type 1 Diabetes becomes uncontrollable, a pancreas transplant may become a life-saving treatment option. In most instances, candidates for this procedure have coinciding renal failure.
A successful pancreas transplant may:
- Eliminate the need for daily insulin injection(s)
- Prevent or suspend diabetes complications
- Reduce dietary restrictions
- Improve quality of life
- Simultaneous Kidney/Pancreas Transplantation (SPK) — A recipient receives a kidney and a pancreas at the same time from the same deceased donor
- Pancreas After Kidney Transplantation (PAK) — A recipient undergoes kidney transplantation first, usually from a living donor, and then subsequently receives a pancreas transplant, typically six months to one year later, or when patient is ready