Your pancreas is the organ that lies behind the lower part of your stomach. One of its chief functions is to make insulin, a hormone that regulates the levels of gluscose (sugar) in your body.

Pancreas transplantation replaces a pancreas that no longer functions properly—nearly all such transplants are undergone to treat cases of type 1 diabetes.

Evaluation

All potential transplant patients must go through and evaluation process including a medical history review, several interviews and medical examinations before eligibility is determined. The benefits of a pancreas-only transplantation must be found to outweigh the risks of the surgery and life-long treatment with anti-rejection medications.

Learn more about the transplant evaluation process.

Transplant Process

The surgeon inserts the donor pancreas into the right side of your abdomen and makes all the necessary internal connections. A segment of the small intestine comes attached to the donor pancreas, which is sewn to your small intestine so that digestive enzymes from the donor pancreas can drain into your small intestine, aiding digestion.

The surgeon does not remove your pancreas. It remains in place to help with digestion.

Recovery

After surgery, you’ll go to the Inpatient Transplant Unit where you’ll take medicines to prevent infections and rejection of your new pancreas. Your doctor will check for possible post-operative problems such as clotting, major bleeding, or pancreatitis.

Learn more about transplant recovery.