About Pancreas Transplantation

A pancreas transplant is a procedure in which a surgeon implants a healthy pancreas into the body of a person whose pancreas has stopped functioning normally. A properly functioning pancreas produces enzymes that allow your body to digest food and absorb nutrients from that food. It also secretes insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Diabetes results when the pancreas stops working as it should.

If you have diabetes and experience frequent insulin reactions or poor blood sugar control despite good medical management, you should consider a pancreas transplant.

Successful pancreas transplantation can prevent insulin reactions and diabetic ketoacidosis, which is when acid builds up in the blood due to lack of insulin. Those with early signs of kidney damage may also benefit as a way to halt the progression of the disease. Over the past decade, improvements to anti-rejection medications have helped improve pancreas transplantation outcomes to the point where they are close to those of kidney transplantation. Today, more people with diabetes are electing to undergo this procedure.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) New Brunswick's pancreas transplant program is the largest in New Jersey. Our highly trained physicians handle simple and complex transplants, including simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplants and pancreas transplants that may become necessary after kidney transplants.

Simultaneous Pancreas-Kidney (SPK) Transplant

If diabetes is the cause of kidney failure, a kidney and pancreas transplant should be considered. Pancreas transplantation is currently the only treatment for diabetes that establishes consistent, normal blood sugar levels that halts diabetes-related complications, so many patients choose to receive a new pancreas along with their new kidney.

Pancreas After Kidney (PAK) Transplant

After a patient has a kidney transplant, if doctors determine that diabetic damage is likely to continue to progress, the patient may seek to have a pancreas transplant as well.

For More Information

Download the Pancreas Transplant Candidate Education Program brochure for comprehensive information about the pancreas transplant process at RWJUH.

Below are links to some educational resources about transplantation from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

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