Pancreatic Transplant

Diabetes has the distinction of ravaging major organs in the body- most notably the pancreas. Sometimes the pancreas becomes so severely damaged that it is necessary to introduce a healthy one into the body by means of a transplant.

Unlike other transplant procedures, when a healthy pancreas is added, the native pancreas has to be left in place while the healthy one is positioned in a different location. Due to the vital importance that the pancreas serves in the digestive process, it is necessary to keep the original pancreas in place in the event that the body rejects the new one. Since the body is not able to adequately function without a pancreas, the original one has to be in place to serve as a back-up.

Sometimes the pancreas is transplanted alone, while other times it is necessary to simultaneously transplant a kidney, too. This is often needed due to the extensive damage that the kidney has also sustained from diabetes. When a dual transplantation occurs, both the pancreas and kidney are donated from the same individual to reduce the rejection rate.

The largest number of pancreatic transplantations are those who are type 1 diabetes who also suffer from kidney failure. Thats why nine out of ten pancreas transplantations involve a kidney transplant, as well.

A lot as changed in the 45 years since the first pancreatic transplant. Within the most recent years, patients have experienced a much improved long-term success, with less risks. As far as transplant patients go, the numbers are very encouraging. One year after the procedure, 95 percent are still alive with between 80 and 85 percent of the pancreases still functioning. This number is greatly assisted through the use of immunosuppressants to ward off rejection, as well as other complications.

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