Transplant Surgery – Pancreas Transplantation
Your pancreas is located in the abdomen, just below the stomach and drains into the intestines. It plays a part in two very important systems in your body-the digestive system, and the endocrine system by producing juices that help with digestion and producing insulin, which your body needs to be able to use sugar for energy.
When the pancreas is not working, either one or both functions of the pancreas are affected. If pancreas functions are affected, then they both need replaced-the digestive enzymes are given as pills, and the insulin is given as shots. More often, the pancreas is not making insulin, or the body cannot use insulin correctly. Without insulin, the body's cells cannot use glucose (a sugar) in the blood, and the person then becomes diabetic.
There are a few different types of diabetes, and not all are appropriate to receive a pancreas transplant. The transplant team will work with you to make the decision if pancreas transplant will be a good option for you.
Frequently asked questions
Who can I talk to if I’m not sure a transplant is right for me?
Please talk with your endocrinologist or nephrologist about the transplantation process. To set up a clinic appointment to learn more about transplantation, call our office at 717-531-3716. Clinic meetings are scheduled every Thursday morning from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
After an appointment is scheduled, call the transplant office if any changes in your schedule occur that would prohibit you from keeping your appointment. You may reschedule your appointment at this time. A packet of information will be mailed to you. Please fill in the information requested, and return it to our office as soon as possible.
What do I need to do after the clinic meeting?
A letter will be mailed to each patient stating whether or not they are considered a candidate for transplantation, along with a list of tests that need to be completed for listing. This letter will also be sent to your endocrinologist and your primary care physician.
How do I get all these tests completed?
Your endocrinologist’s office or family doctor can schedule all the tests for you.
You may also have your testing completed here at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Our office can schedule the tests for you.
When will I be put on the list?
When all testing is completed the transplant team will review your records and a decision will be made relative to your placement on the transplant list. One of the pre-transplant coordinators will call you at home letting you know the outcome of the meeting. You will also receive a letter in the mail.
Do I need to do anything after I am listed for transplantation?
You will need annual testing to remain active on the transplant list. Also, we will request a blood sample be taken monthly or bi-weekly from your physician’s office or local lab. It will be sent to our lab so we may have a current sample on each patient. This allows us to start testing your compatibility with a potential donor before you arrive at the hospital.
For further information please visit the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) website.
Data source: UNOS/Scientific Registry of Transplant