Benefits of a pancreas transplant

A pancreas transplant is the best treatment option for some people with insulin-treated diabetes

Key points

  • A pancreas transplant leads to a longer, better quality of life for most people who are able to have one
  • Your blood sugar should be better controlled and you're unlikely to need insulin   
  • Damage caused by your diabetes should slow down 
  • Most people say they have extra energy and feel more able to cope with everyday activities
  • You are more able to work and go on holiday
  • If you’re planning a family, it is possible to try for a baby once you’ve recovered

Start enjoying life again

Once you have recovered from the operation and clinic visits are less frequent, your life should start getting back to normal.

Better blood sugar control

After any type of pancreas transplant, most patients have much better blood sugar control.

There is usually no need for insulin injections or regular blood sugar tests, and you’ll be at a much lower risk of severe hypos (low blood sugars).

Slow down the effects of your diabetes

200"A pancreas transplant does not cure diabetes, but it can slow down its effects and improve some issues.

A successful pancreas transplant can slow down the effect of the damage that diabetes has caused to your eyes, nerves, and blood vessels.

Occasionally, nerve and eye changes due to diabetes can improve.

More energy for work, travel and activities

Most people can get back to a near-normal life, including a return to work and driving a car. Your energy levels and general well-being are likely to improve and you should be able to exercise for much longer periods.

Those who have had a poor appetite before the transplant say it often returns to normal after the procedure. After the first year, you may be able to travel to most parts of the world.

When can you start doing things?

Able to try for a family 

Baby crawlingIf you are a woman of childbearing age you will usually be able to become pregnant after a transplant. Male pancreas transplant patients are often able to become fathers.

Your transplant team will usually suggest that you wait one year before trying for a baby. It’s vital to talk to your transplant team before trying for a baby, as some of your medicines may need to change. 

What do you need to know before trying for a baby?

Benefits of a simultaneous pancreas and kidney (SPK) transplant

This is an option for some patients with insulin-treated diabetes and kidney disease.

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, patients that undergo a successful SPK transplant are likely to benefit from:

  • A longer life compared to staying on dialysis with diabetes
  • Fewer restrictions on what you can eat and drink as you are no longer reliant on dialysis
  • Shorter transplant waiting times than those for a deceased donor kidney-only transplant
  • All surgery done in one go – an SPK transplant is one operation, rather than having a kidney transplant followed by a pancreas transplant a year later

Find out more about kidney transplants

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