A pancreas transplant is a surgical procedure to place a healthy pancreas from a deceased donor into a person whose pancreas no longer functions properly.

Your pancreas is an organ that lies behind the lower part of your stomach. One of its main functions is to make insulin, a hormone that regulates the absorption of sugar (glucose) into your cells.

If your pancreas doesn't make enough insulin, blood sugar levels can rise to unhealthy levels, resulting in type 1 diabetes.

Most pancreas transplants are done to treat type 1 diabetes. A pancreas transplant offers a potential cure for this condition. But it is typically reserved for those with serious diabetes complications, because the side effects of a pancreas transplant are significant.

In some cases, pancreas transplants may also treat type 2 diabetes. Rarely, pancreas transplants may be used in the treatment of pancreatic, bile duct or other cancers.

A pancreas transplant is often done in conjunction with a kidney transplant in people whose kidneys have been damaged by diabetes.

Mayo Clinic's approach