Pancreas Transplant


The Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division offers the option of pancreas transplantation to patients who suffer from insulin dependent, type I diabetes mellitus. At the present time, pancreas transplantation is performed only if a diabetic patient also suffers from kidney failure. The Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division offers two programs.

Pancreas After Kidney (PAK) transplantation allows patients to receive a kidney transplant as their first choice of therapy if a suitable living kidney donor is available. This process may be preferable given the high long-term success rate of living kidney transplantation and the relatively long wait for a cadaveric kidney. Patients are then offered the option of pancreas transplantation after successful kidney transplantation.
If a patient has already undergone kidney transplantation, either through living or cadaveric donation, he/she can be evaluated for PAK.

Simultaneous Pancreas/Kidney (SPK) transplantation may be the procedure of choice in the event that the patient does not have a living kidney donor available.


As per our protocol and policy, the following criteria have been established for recipient selection.

Patients must:

  • Have type I (juvenile) diabetes as the underlying disease
  • Have evidence of kidney failure
  • Be less than 50 years old
  • Have had minimal abdominal surgery
  • Be free of advanced secondary complications of diabetes, such as blindness, amputation, or severe vascular disease

Patients are eligible before beginning dialysis or while on hemo or peritoneal dialysis.

Proposed Benefits of PAK or SPK Transplantation

  • Kidney transplantation will eliminate the need for dialysis
  • Pancreas transplantation will control the blood sugar in the recipient
  • Patients will have no need for insulin following a successful PAK or SPK transplant
  • Patients will have no dietary restrictions
  • A transplanted pancreas can delay, prevent, or in some cases, improve the secondary complications of diabetes
  • Patients will experience a significant improvement in their quality of life

The Evaluation Process

All potential recipients will first undergo the standard pre-transplant medical evaluation. Once it is determined that the patient may be a suitable pancreas transplant candidate, the patient will be referred to the Director of Transplant Surgery for further evaluation. Additional testing may be required at this point.

If a voluntary, suitable living kidney donor is identified, then an appropriate donor evaluation will be performed. In this instance, the patient would then undergo kidney transplantation first and PAK transplantation afterwards. All potential pancreas candidates will be referred to the Director of Transplant Surgery for evaluation for either SPK or PAK.

When the entire evaluation and testing process is complete, a determination will be made whether to place the patient on the SPK waiting list or the cadaveric kidney waiting list, or to perform a living kidney donor transplantation followed by PAK transplantation, if the patient is eligible. These lists are separate; a patient may be placed on only one of these three lists.

When Organs Become Available

When potential organs become available, the patient with the best match and most points on the list is notified by the transplant coordinator. The potential recipient will receive further instructions from the transplant coordinator on how to prepare for surgery.

After Surgery

After the transplant, the recipient is admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Most patients remain in the ICU for two to three days. Recipients will then be transferred to the specialized Renal and Transplant Unit. Function of the transplanted organ(s) will be closely monitored with laboratory and x-ray studies. The total hospital stay is approximately 10 days.

After Discharge

Following discharge from the hospital, medications that prevent certain types of infection, as well as rejection of the transplanted organ(s), will have to be taken. During the hospital stay, the transplant case manager provides education about these medications. Blood work, taken several times per week, enables the doctor to monitor the continued function of the transplanted organs. Follow-up clinic visits will be scheduled on a regular basis. With successful SPK or PAK transplantation, patients can expect to be free of insulin and dialysis.

It is our hope that patients will begin to enjoy a vastly improved quality of life following a successful pancreas transplant.

New Brunswick, NJ
Kidney & Pancreas Transplant at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Livingston, NJ
Kidney & Pancreas Transplant at Saint Barnabas Medical Center

Patient Stories

  • “When I first got out of the hospital, I couldn’t even lift a gallon of milk. Now, I’m walking, doing yoga and playing in my band”

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  • “If I can get a message to anyone needing a kidney, I would tell them make sure you go to the Transplant Center that is the best. I would tell them to go to Saint Barnabas!”

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  • On May 16, 2018, I donated a kidney through the Living Donor Institute at Saint Barnabas Medical Center.

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Patient Stories

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Saint Barnabas Medical Center
94 Old Short Hills Road
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-5000
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
1 Robert Wood Johnson Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 828-3000
The Renal and Pancreas Transplant Program at Saint Barnabas Medical Center- Edison
102 James Street
Suite 102
Edison, NJ 08817
(973) 322-5938
The Renal and Pancreas Transplant Department at Saint Barnabas Medical Center
94 Old Short Hills Road
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-5938
The Renal and Pancreas Transplant Program at Saint Barnabas Medical Center- Long Branch
223 Monmouth Road
Building B, Suite 1B
West Long Branch, NJ 07764
(973) 322-5938
The Robert Wood Johnson Transplant Center
10 Plum St, 7th Floor
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 253-3699
The Children's Kidney Center
101 Old Short Hills Road
Suite 505
West Orange, NJ 07052
(973) 322-6767

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