Pancreas transplant surgery
Find out what happens during the transplant operation
- Pancreas transplant surgery by itself takes 2-4 hours
- Simultaneous pancreas and kidney (SPK) transplant surgery takes 4-8 hours or more
- You will be put to sleep under a general anaesthetic while the transplant takes place
- There are many different ways that a pancreas can be transplanted
- Your surgeon will explain their preferred technique
How is pancreas transplant surgery performed?
There are many different ways that a pancreas can be transplanted. The surgical team caring for you will explain their preferred technique, and which would be best for you. Most of the time, the pancreas is placed within your tummy cavity (peritoneal cavity). Your own pancreas does not need to be removed.
How it works
Where the pancreas is in the body
Your pancreas is part of the digestive system. It is about 6 inches long and sits in the top of your tummy (abdomen), behind the stomach. It is connected to your small intestine through a small tube called the pancreatic duct. It is surrounded by your spleen, liver, gall bladder and bile duct.
Close up of a pancreas
This is a close up view of a pancreas. The main pancreatic duct runs through the length of the pancreas and attaches to the small intestine (pink). The part of the small intestine that attaches to the pancreas is called the duodenum.
Connecting a donor pancreas
Most of the time, a donor pancreas is placed within your tummy cavity (peritoneal cavity). Your own pancreas does not need to be removed. The donor pancreas is transplanted with a short piece of donor small intestine (the duodenum). This is joined to your small intestine or sometimes your bladder.
Close up of a pancreas transplant
This shows a close up of a pancreas transplant and its typical connection points - the intestine (pink) the pancreas portal vein (blue) and pancreas artery (red). The pancreas artery usually needs to be reconstructed during a transplant.
Some things that will happen during pancreas transplant surgery
Medical terms explained
This is when a very small piece of tissue is taken for analysis. It is used to diagnose rejection.