Pancreas Transplant

The pancreas is a vital organ located behind the lower part of the stomach. One of the chief functions of the pancreas is to produce insulin, a hormone that regulates the absorption of sugar into the body.

When the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, the blood sugar levels increase to unhealthy levels, leading to type 1 diabetes. A pancreas transplant is a complex surgical procedure to replace a diseased organ with a healthy one from a deceased person. This is done in patients where the pancreas no longer functions. A majority of pancreas transplants are done to cure type 1 diabetes, and in certain instances, it is also recommended for treating pancreatic cancer and bile duct cancer. Some patients with kidney failure may also need a pancreas transplant in conjunction with it.

Pancreas Transplant

What Are the Conditions That Need Pancreas Transplant?

A pancreas transplant helps in restoring insulin production and improves the complications related to diabetes. 

The conditions that would need Pancreas transplant need:  

  • Highly severe Type 1 diabetes
  • Frequent reactions to insulin
  • End-stage kidney failure
  • Type 2 diabetes is associated with low insulin resistance and production

How Is Pancreas Transplant Done?

A pancreas transplant is done under general anaesthesia, and it takes up to 3 to 6 hours. The surgeon makes an incision down the center of the abdomen to access the pancreas. The donor pancreas and a bit of the small intestine from the donor are placed into the lower abdomen, The donor’s intestine is attached either to the small intestine or the bladder, and the pancreas is connected to blood vessels that supply blood to the legs. The diseased pancreas is left in place to support digestion. The incision is then sutured and closed. The patient will be monitored for a week or more in the post-operative ICU to reduce the risk of infections and rejection of new pancreas by the body.


The patient may have to spend a few weeks or nearly a fortnight in the hospital after transplantation.

The recipient of a pancreas transplant needs to be on immunosuppressants and other medication for the rest of their life to reduce the risk of infections and rejection of the organ by the body.

Yes. But one should exercise caution while travelling and, in the crowd, to reduce the risk of infections. If you are a smoker or an alcoholic, quit now! Maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

The success rate of a pancreas transplant is around 90%. A majority of patients stop taking insulin a year after the transplant.

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