Are you suffering from insulin-dependent diabetes? Your doctor must have recommended regular intake of insulin and many dietary restrictions. Hence, to reduce the dependence on insulin injections and prevent further damage to the kidneys and related organs in the body, the doctor will recommend a Pancreas Transplant.
Dr. Gaurav Gupta is an ASTS certified abdominal organ transplant surgeon with more than ten years of experience performing transplant surgery successfully. As the Head of Liver Transplant and HPB Surgery at Fortis Hospitals, Mumbai, he offers to do a Pancreas Transplant in Mumbai. He is not only known for the best liver transplant in Mumbai but also provides pancreas transplant treatment and related services.
What is a Pancreas Transplant?
A pancreas transplant is an organ transplant in which the transplant surgeon implants a healthy pancreas into the patient whose pancreas is malfunctioning. The healthy pancreas is usually taken from a deceased donor.
Why is the Pancreas so important?
The pancreas' primary function is to produce digestive juices and hormones such as insulin and glucagon, which help maintain normal blood sugar levels and use and store energy derived from food.
The pancreas lies behind the stomach and before the spine and is the size of a human hand. It is present in the abdomen along with the intestine, stomach, and other organs.
The treating doctor recommends a pancreas transplant if the pancreas cannot produce insulin leading to Type 1 Diabetes.
Why Pancreas Transplant?
A pancreas transplant is suggested when the pancreas in the body cannot produce insulin, or the body has low insulin levels. Also, such patients are at a high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and diabetic nephropathy. Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that leads to poor vision and blindness, while diabetic nephropathy implies damage to the kidney and its eventual failure.
Who is the right candidate for a Pancreas Transplant?
As a leading expert in liver transplant surgery, Dr. Gaurav Gupta offers to perform a pancreas transplant in Mumbai on Type 1 diabetes patients.
The organ transplant specialist may consider the patient to a right candidate for a pancreas transplant if there is
- Failure of Standard Treatment in controlling type 1 diabetes
- Severe Insulin Reactions frequently
- Fluctuations in sugar control
- Hypoglycemia Unawareness
- Severe damage to the kidney
Relatively young Type 2 Diabetes with Low BMI and low insulin resistance with a complication of diabetes like retinopathy, kidney damage are also good candidates for Pancreas Transplant
There three main types of Pancreas Transplants.
- Pancreas Transplant - A pancreas transplant is recommended to a patient who has type 1 diabetes with instances of frequent occurrences of hypoglycemia, but kidneys are functioning adequately.
- Simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant – SPK –In this type of transplant, both the kidneys and the pancreas are simultaneously transplanted from the deceased donor. This type of transplant is considered for a patient with kidney damage.
- Pancreas-after-kidney transplant – the patient is in requirement of transplant of the kidney and the pancreas. If the kidney is available first, then the transplant proceeds with it. The pancreas transplant is planned whenever the donor pancreas is available after the patient recovers from the kidney transplant.
- Pancreatic islet cell transplant - In this procedure, the insulin-producing cells – islet cells are then transplanted in the body through a vein that takes blood to the liver. At times, more than one islet injections are essential.
All about the pancreas transplant
The pancreas transplant is done under general anesthesia. The surgery takes at least three to six hours. The time taken depends on whether only the pancreas is transplanted or even a kidney transplant is performed along with it.
The transplant surgeon will place the new pancreas and a small intestine of the donor in the lower abdomen area. The new pancreas is also connected to the blood vessels that supply blood to the legs.
The existing pancreas is left untouched in its original position to assist in the digestion process. The donor's intestine is connected to the present small intestine or bladder.
After the procedure
The patient is required to stay in the hospital for more than a week. The initial days will be in ICU. After discharge, the patient will have frequent checkups for the initial three to four weeks thereafter.
The patient will be prescribed anti-rejection medications that will suppress your immune system, which may have to be taken for the rest of your life.
Also, the patient will be advised to take antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal medications on account of suppressed immunity.
If the transplant is successful, the patient has to take the prescribed immunosuppressant for a lifetime. Also, the patient need not be dependent on insulin after that.
Complications in Pancreas Transplant
Rejection of the new pancreas by the body is the biggest risk involved in this transplant. The signs and symptoms of rejection of the pancreas are
- High blood sugar levels
- Tenderness in the transplant area
- Pain in the abdomen area
- Reduced urine output
What happens in the event of rejection of the pancreas?
The patient will have to begin taking insulin injections once again. The patient can try for a second pancreas transplant if the body can withstand the surgery once again.
Also, records reveal many instances of rejection of only pancreas transplants as compared to kidney-pancreas transplants.