Transplant options for people with diabetes

Mayo Clinic offers innovative transplant options for people with diabetes. Some people with diabetes may benefit from a pancreas transplant to improve blood sugar control, reduce their need for insulin injections and improve their quality of life.

Surgeons perform several types of pancreas transplants for people with diabetes, including:

  • Solitary pancreas transplant or pancreas transplant alone. People with diabetes and early or no kidney disease may be candidates for a solitary pancreas transplant or pancreas transplant alone. A pancreas transplant surgery involves only a pancreas transplant without other surgeries.
  • Pancreas-after-kidney transplant. Some people with diabetes may need a pancreas transplant and a kidney transplant. If a living- or deceased-donor kidney is available, you may receive the kidney transplant prior to the pancreas transplant. After you recover from kidney transplant surgery, you'll receive the pancreas transplant, once a donor pancreas becomes available.
  • Combined or simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant. Surgeons often may perform combined or simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplants for people with diabetes who also have kidney failure. However, you may need to wait up to two years for a deceased-donor kidney and donor pancreas. A kidney transplant may be performed prior to a pancreas transplant, if a donor kidney is available.
  • Islet cell transplant. Doctors can provide you with information about islet cell transplantation. In islet cell transplantation, insulin-producing cells (islet cells) taken from a deceased donor's pancreas are injected by doctors into a vein that takes blood to your liver. More than one injection of transplanted islet cells is often necessary. While Mayo Clinic doesn't currently offer this treatment, staff can provide you with names of medical centers who offer islet cell transplantation.