woman and nurse speaking in clinic

Pancreas Transplant

The pancreas transplant program at UVA Transplant Center was started in 1988 and is one of the busiest in Virginia. We have performed 137 simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplants and 88 pancreas transplants, many on high-risk patients.

Our primary goal is to improve your quality of life. Many of our patients have participated in our research efforts, including drug studies that look at ways to reduce and manage the effects of organ transplant rejection and reduce complications from those drugs. 

Am I a Transplant Candidate?

A pancreas transplant is an option for patients with type 1 diabetes who have difficulty with labile blood (quick and wide swings in blood sugar level from high to low and from low to high), but aren’t able to detect when their glucose levels are dropping. In some cases, a pancreas transplant can also be done for patients with Type II diabetes.

A pancreas transplant can be performed in these situations:

  • At the same time as a kidney transplant (from a deceased donor) when both organs are required
  • After a living donor kidney transplant has occurred
  • To replace a pancreas for patients who do not have kidney disease associated with their diabetes

The Procedure

Your doctor may choose between two different surgical techniques to perform a pancreas transplant. One technique places the pancreas in the lower abdomen where the digestive enzymes from the organ drain into the bladder. The advantage of this surgery is that the transplant team is better able to detect a rejection.

The other technique places the pancreas in the abdomen so that digestive enzymes drain into the gut, which allows them to be reabsorbed. Monitoring for rejection with this technique is more challenging.

Choosing UVA

A recent transplant recipient, Steve explains why he's glad he chose to get his transplant at UVA. View Transcript.

Keys to Success: Support

You’ll have a team of doctors, transplant coordinators, social workers, financial counselors and more working to ensure you receive the best care possible. And we’ll work closely with your referring and primary doctor, who are important members of your transplant team.

Find out more about how the members of the pancreas transplant support team.