Finding a pancreas donor

The pancreas donor is always deceased, and you don't get to choose. If you're eligible for a pancreas transplant, you're placed on a list and get the transplant when you reach the top of the list.

The process of surgery and recovery

Figure 13-1 shows the appearance of the abdomen after simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant.

^ As in a regular kidney transplant, the native kidneys are left in place. The new kidney is attached by its blood vessels in the pelvic area, and its ureter goes into your bladder.

^ The pancreas is attached to your intestine so that the digestive enzymes can go into the intestine where they belong. Its blood vessels are attached to nearby arteries and veins. Your own pancreas is left in your body to continue to provide digestive enzymes to your intestine. (A pancreas-only transplant also looks like this.)

Surgery takes about four to six hours for a simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant; a pancreas-only transplant takes two to four hours. The drugs that prevent rejection of the kidney and pancreas are introduced after surgery, and their concentrations are measured by blood tests. You must stay in the hospital for 7 to 12 days after the combined transplant; if you're in the hospital for just a pancreas-only transplant, you'll stay a similar number of days. I discuss additional follow-up later in this chapter.

Recipient's intestine

Intestinal

Figure 13-1:

A combined kidney and pancreas transplant.

Recipient's intestine

Intestinal

Figure 13-1:

A combined kidney and pancreas transplant.

^ Donated kidney

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