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A functioning pancreas transplant means that insulin injections are no longer needed. However, a pancreas transplant does not cure diabetes. It is expected to slow down the damaging effects of diabetes on eyes, nerves, and blood vessels. Occasionally, nerve and eye changes due to diabetes can improve.
All decisions on transplantation are made on a case-by-case basis. If you have concerns that you might be too old for a pancreas transplant, please discuss this with your care team.
One year after a pancreas transplant 85-90 in 100 pancreases are still working, that is, the recipient does not need insulin injections. Five years after a pancreas transplant 80-85 in 100 pancreases are still working.
Longer-term survival is increasing and there are patients in the UK who have had a working pancreas transplant for more than 20 years.
The average wait for a pancreas only or Simultaneous Pancreas and Kidney (SPK) transplant in the UK is 1 year.
How long you stay in hospital after a pancreas transplant depends on your condition at the time of the transplant and whether you have complications after the operation. If you are in good physical condition at the time of the operation and have many complications after surgery, you may be discharged in 1 to 2 weeks.
As with any major operation, there is a risk of dying. The average risk of dying during the first year after a pancreas transplant is between 2 and 4 patients in every 100. However, this varies widely on a patient-by-patient basis.