More than 95% of people survive the first year after a pancreas transplant. Organ rejection occurs in about 1% of the patients. The survival rate decreases to 92.5% at three years. The risk of death from the surgery itself is low and happens in less than one in 100 cases.
If the transplantation is successful, the recipients may have a stabilized blood sugar level without the need for external insulin shots. The complications of diabetes, such as nerve and vision issues, may also improve after transplantation.
The potential lifespan of the transplanted pancreas is unknown; however, at present, individuals are surviving for more than 16 years after transplantation.
The recipients with successful transplantation have a better quality of life with better psychosocial and career aspects, but these recipients won’t have the health and performance of a healthy individual.
What is a pancreas transplant?
A pancreas transplant is a last resort treatment in patients with an established type 1 diabetes mellitus. It involves the replacement of an unhealthy pancreas with a healthy pancreas from a donor. A pancreas transplant helps in:
- Improving type 1 diabetes mellitus
- Reducing the dependency on insulin shots
- Treating pancreatic cancer
The pancreas is generally taken from a deceased donor; however, in selective cases, the pancreas will be taken from a living donor. There are four types of pancreas transplant:
- Simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant: This type of transplant involves a simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplant.
- Pancreas-after-kidney transplant: Pancreas transplantation takes place after successful kidney transplantation.
- Kidney after pancreas transplants: Kidney transplantation takes place after successful pancreas transplants.
- Pancreas transplant alone: It is performed in patients with serious and complicated diabetes.
When should a pancreas transplant be avoided?
A pancreas transplant should be avoided in people with:
- A history of cancer
- Human immunodeficiency virus/Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
- Infections such as hepatitis
- Lung disease
- Severe heart disease
- Lifestyle habits such as smoking, alcohol or drug abuse
- Blood vessel disease of neck and leg
What to expect in a pancreas transplant?
Before the procedure:
- The surgeon determines if a pancreas transplant is necessary for you.
- You need to undergo specific tests as a part of the evaluation, which includes:
- Blood tests or skin tests to check for infection
- Heart tests such as electrocardiography, echocardiography, or cardiac catheterization
- Tissue and blood typing to make sure that the body doesn’t reject the donated organs
- Test to diagnose early cancer
- You will be placed on a waiting list to receive a deceased donor pancreas.
- Your name and blood test results will be placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing’s national list.
- During the wait, follow these steps:
During the procedure:
- A pancreas transplant is generally performed under general anesthesia.
- The surgeon makes an incision down the center of the abdomen.
- Next, the surgeon places the donor pancreas on the lower right side of the abdomen attached to the nearby blood vessels. If the pancreas is taken from a deceased donor, then the surgeon removes the pancreas along with a small section of the small intestine. Whereas, if the pancreas is taken from a living donor, the surgeon takes a portion of the body and the tail of the pancreas.
- The recipient’s existing pancreas usually remains in their body.
After the procedure:
- You have to stay in the hospital for three to seven days.
- You will need regular blood tests for one to two months.
- You may need to take several medications post-transplant.
- Attachment Theory: What It Is, Stages & the Different Attachment Styles
- Gentle Parenting: What It Is, Techniques & Discipline
- U.S. Nursing Homes Fail to Report Many Serious Falls, Bedsores: Study
- The Younger You Get Diabetes, the Higher Your Risk for Dementia Later
- FDA Grants Full Approval to Paxlovid to Treat COVID-19
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Is the Success Rate of a Pancreas Transplant? Related Articles
Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
digestive enzymesDigestive enzymes are natural substances that help the digestive system break down food. Taken as a supplement, digestive enzymes may be used to treat adults and children with pancreatic insufficiency caused by cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), pancreatectomy (removal of all or part of the pancreas), or pancreatic cancer. Common side effects of digestive enzymes include headache, neck pain, dizziness, abdominal cramping, nausea, diarrhea, gas (flatulence), indigestion, abnormal stools, and others. Do not take if you have acute pancreatitis.
Digestive Enzymes OralOral digestive enzymes are found in the digestive tract, are naturally produced by the body, and help breakdown the foods we eat. The pancreas makes and secretes digestive enzymes. Prescription and OTC digestive enzymes are available in PEPs or pancreatic enzyme products. PEPs are prescribed for people with cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer or tumors, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, or removal of part or all of the pancreas. Side effects include life-threatening allergic reactions, difficulty breathing or talking, swelling of the mouth/face/lips/tongue/throat, chest tightness, rash or hives, itching, red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; wheezing.
What Is Microsporidiosis?Microsporidiosis is an infection caused by the microsporidia parasite. The disease is uncommon in people with normal immune systems. Symptoms in people with immune deficiency include diarrhea, malabsorption, gallbladder disease, cough, labored breathing, urinary tract infection, bowel perforation and keratoconjunctivitis. Microsporidiosis treatment depends on the site of infection and the species of microsporidia involved.
mycophenolateMycophenolate is an immunosuppressant medication used to prevent rejection of transplant organs (heart, kidney, and liver). Common side effects of mycophenolate include high or low blood pressure (hypertension or hypotension), exacerbation of hypertension, rapid heart rate (tachycardia), swelling (edema), lower extremity edema, peripheral edema, blood clot formation (thrombosis), inflammation of the vein (phlebitis), high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol level in the blood (hypercholesterolemia), high level of blood fats (hyperlipidemia), high uric acid level in the blood (hyperuricemia), high or low blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia/hypokalemia), and others. Mycophenolate can cause fetal harm and should not be used in pregnant women. Do not use if breastfeeding.
Pancreas divisum is a common congenital anomaly (an anomaly that is present at birth) of the pancreatic duct(s). The human embryo starts life with two ducts in the pancreas; the ventral duct and the dorsal duct. In more than 90% of the embryos, the dorsal and the ventral ducts will fuse to form one main pancreatic duct. In approximately 10% of embryos, the dorsal and the ventral ducts fail to fuse. Failure of the ventral and the dorsal pancreatic ducts to fuse is called pancreas divisum (because the pancreas is drained by two ducts). In pancreas divisum, the ventral duct drains into the major papilla, while the dorsal duct drains into a separate minor papilla. The majority of individuals born with pancreas divisum experience no symptoms throughout life, will remain undiagnosed and will not require treatment. A small number of patients with pancreas divisum will experience repeated episodes of pancreatitis.
Pancreas PictureA fish-shaped spongy grayish-pink organ about 6 inches (15 cm) long that stretches across the back of the abdomen, behind the stomach. See a picture of the Pancreas and learn more about the health topic.
Pancreatic CancerPancreatic cancer is a malignant tumor of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer has been called a "silent" disease because early pancreatic cancer usually does not cause early symptoms. Typically, pancreatic cancer has metastasized (spread to adjacent organs, such as the liver) by the time most people receive a dignosis of pancreatic cancer. Symptoms and signs usually appear later in the course of the disease and include jaundice, back pain, nausea, weight loss, itching, and loss of appetite. Treatment depends upon the type of pancreatic cancer but may include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.
Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms, Causes, and TreatmentLearn about pancreatic cancer signs, symptoms, causes, statistics, treatments (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, biological therapy) and their side effects on of malignant tumors of the pancreas.
Symptoms of Your Pancreas Not Working ProperlySigns that your pancreas is not working properly include pain in the upper abdomen that spreads to the back and worsens while eating and drinking. Learn about other signs of pancreas problems.
What Can Cure Pancreatitis?Learn what medical treatments can help to cure your pancreatitis and speed up your recovery.
What Is the Function of the Pancreas in the Body?A healthy pancreas produces substances that are required for digestion and the breakdown of food.