Who is able to have a pancreas transplant?
A pancreas transplant is a treatment option for a small number of people with insulin-treated diabetes
- A pancreas transplant is an option for some patients with insulin-treated diabetes
- A pancreas transplant is a major operation and comes with risks
- Other treatments may be better for some patients
- Talk to your pancreas doctor about the right treatment for you
Who can have a pancreas transplant?
A pancreas transplant is a treatment option for some patients who have major complications from their diabetes. This includes kidney failure or serious problems with low blood sugars (‘hypos’). Most patients with insulin-treated diabetes do not need a pancreas transplant.
To have a pancreas transplant:
- You must have insulin-treated diabetes
- You must be experiencing major complications from your diabetes
- You must be well enough to cope with major surgery
- The transplant needs to have a good chance of success
- You must be able to take the required daily medicines after a transplant, including immunosuppressant medicines
Why might you need a transplant?
Why a pancreas transplant might not be your best option
A pancreas transplant has lots of advantages but it also has some disadvantages, which may make it too risky for some patients.
The main disadvantages are:
- A pancreas transplant is a major operation lasting 2-4 hours
- If a kidney is transplanted at the same time as a pancreas (an SPK transplant), the operation can take 4-8 hours
- The surgery can place a strain on your heart or lungs
- You have to take powerful immunosuppressant medicines afterwards, which can lead to other serious medical problems
- Some patients experience psychological difficulties afterwards
Other options to a pancreas transplant
Most patients with insulin-treated diabetes do not need a pancreas transplant. For others, a pancreas transplant may be too risky. For these patients, there are other options.