Pancreas Transplant

What is a pancreas transplant?

Although often performed as a last resort, the pancreas transplant has become a key treatment for people with type 1 diabetes. Pancreas transplants are also sometimes carried out in people who require insulin therapy and have type 2 diabetes. However, this is much less common.

The first human pancreas transplant was completed in 1966. The aim of a transplant is to restore normal blood glucose levels to the body. The transplanted pancreas is able to produce insulin to manage blood glucose levels. This is a task that a transplant candidate’s existing pancreas can no longer perform properly.

A pancreas transplant is mainly done for people with diabetes. It typically won’t be used to treat people with other conditions. It’s rarely done to treat certain cancers.

Is there more than one type of pancreas transplant?

There are several types of pancreas transplants. Some people may have a pancreas transplant alone (PTA). People with diabetic nephropathy — damage to the kidneys from diabetes — can receive a donor pancreas and kidney. This procedure is called simultaneous pancreas-kidney (SPK) transplant.

Similar procedures include pancreas after kidney (PAK) and kidney after pancreas (KAP) transplants.

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