What is it?
A combined pancreas and kidney transplantation. This is the most common type of pancreas transplant.
Who is it suitable for?
Patients with insulin-treated diabetes and kidney failure.
How long is surgery?
- A successful SPK transplant allows patients to be free of both dialysis and insulin injections
- One operation for two conditions (diabetes, kidney disease)
- Long, complex surgery
- Increased risk of early complications due to the complex surgery
- Unplanned (urgent) surgery
- Only patients who are fit enough will be considered for an SPK transplant
Average waiting times
Average transplant outcomes
- 15-20 years kidney transplant function
- 10-15 years pancreas transplant function
You may need dialysis while you wait for an SPK transplant
Many patients with insulin-treated diabetes and kidney failure will need dialysis while waiting for a transplant. A lot of patients find life on dialysis difficult.
Most patients on dialysis need to limit how much they drink, and have to avoid certain foods. Energy levels may be low, and dialysis can be very time-consuming. Although dialysis is lifesaving, being on dialysis for many years puts a strain on your heart, and can cause thickening of the arteries.
Patients who need dialysis have higher risks of early death than people without kidney disease. This is mainly due to a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and serious infections. A successful working kidney transplant will mean that you no longer need dialysis.
Overall, patients who receive a kidney transplant (with or without a pancreas transplant) live longer than those who stay on dialysis, and also have a better quality of life.
Find out more about dialysis