Pancreas Transplant FAQs | Transplant | Loyola Medicine

Pancreas Transplant FAQs

What to Expect before Pancreas Transplant Surgery

How long should I expect to wait for a transplant?
The average wait time for a simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant is one to two years. The average wait time for a pancreas transplant alone may be shorter, from six months to a year. Your Loyola transplant team will continue to manage your condition and work to keep you healthy until you receive your transplant.

Who pays for the operation?
Your health insurance will pay for your medical evaluation and any surgical procedures. Please contact your insurance company to find out about the specific levels of coverage, which may vary depending on your plan. Your transplant coordinator and financial counselor will help you and advise you about your coverage.

How can I find out if I need a pancreas transplant?
If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor to see if a pancreas transplant is right for you. You also can contact our team at 708-327-2738 and a transplant nurse will answer your questions. You do not need a referral from your doctor to be evaluated.

How do I know if I qualify for a pancreas transplant?
If you suffer from type 1 diabetes, you may be eligible for a pancreas transplant. Your doctor will give you a number of tests, including imaging studies and blood tests and will check for any other serious conditions. Our transplant team at Loyola will give you a medical evaluation to see if a pancreas transplant will be right for you. 

What is the age limit for pancreas transplant surgery?
Your health is the most important factor in pancreas transplant surgery. However, people over the age of 65 rarely have a pancreas transplant.

How long is the surgery?
The surgery usually takes around three hours. If it is done at the same time as a kidney transplant, it takes about four to six hours.

What to Expect after Pancreas Transplant Surgery

What can I expect after transplant surgery?
After your pancreas transplant surgery, you will be taken to the intensive care unit, where you will be closely monitored. Your new pancreas should start working immediately. Your blood glucose levels will not drop below 70 or go above 150 even with meals. Your WILL NOT need any insulin to control your blood sugars.

How long will I spend in the hospital?
You will spend about one week in the hospital.

What follow-up care is required after my transplant?
After leaving the hospital, your doctor will monitor you closely for three to four weeks. Your Loyola transplant team will provide you with a check-up schedule.

How long will I have to take anti-rejection medications?
After your pancreas transplant, you will have to take several medications for as long as you have a functioning transplanted organ. The anti-rejection medications are critical because they prevent your immune system from attacking your new pancreas. Stopping your medication will lead to rejection and loss of the function of the organ. It can also cause other complications.

What activities can I do at home?
You can begin gentle exercise after about six weeks. Your Loyola transplant team will advise you on other activities.

When can I return to work? 
When you are able to return to work will depend on your state of health. In general, return to work may be possible after 12 weeks. Your Loyola transplant team will advise you.