What does the pancreas do?

pancreasYour pancreas contains different types of cells, including islet cells. When islet cells are not working properly, diabetes can occur. This means the body is not able to produce insulin, which helps control the body's sugar level. Although insulin can be given by needle, there are many complications that can occur as a result of diabetes. Transplantation of the pancreas can treat the disease and prevent these complications.

Who needs a pancreas transplant?

Most patients receiving a pancreas transplant also receive a kidney transplant. Often, their diabetes has resulted from kidney failure so they need both organs. Although pancreas transplantation is an effective treatment for some diabetic patients, it is a difficult surgical procedure.

How successful is it?

Combined pancreas and kidney transplantation has a success rate of 80 percent. Despite needing to take anti-rejection drugs, patients find this more acceptable than being treated by dialysis and having to inject insulin.

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Last Updated July 22, 2008 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada