A pancreas transplant offers a potential cure for type 1 diabetes, but it's not a standard treatment. Often the side effects of the anti-rejection medications required after a pancreas transplant can be serious. But if you have any of the following, a pancreas transplant may be worthwhile:

  • Type 1 diabetes that can't be controlled with standard treatment
  • Frequent insulin reactions
  • Consistently poor blood sugar control
  • Severe kidney damage

Because type 2 diabetes occurs due to the body's inability to use insulin properly — and not because of a problem with insulin production in the pancreas — a pancreas transplant isn't a treatment option for most people with type 2 diabetes.

If you have severe kidney damage due to type 1 diabetes, a pancreas transplant may be combined with a kidney transplant or be done after successful kidney transplantation. This strategy aims to give you a healthy kidney and a pancreas that's unlikely to contribute to diabetes-related kidney damage in the future.

Sep. 22, 2011