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Solid organ transplantation

Published on 07 February 2024

Pancreatic transplantation

The Pancreas and Simultaneous Pancreas and Kidney Transplantation Service is for adults over the age of 16 living with type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes and end-stage kidney failure.

The service is based at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

When do patients need pancreas or pancreas-kidney transplantation?

The pancreas produces both digestive juices and hormones like insulin. Sometimes people are unable to produce insulin, resulting in diabetes. Our kidneys filter waste products from the blood and convert them to urine. If the kidneys lose this ability, waste products can build up, causing a threat to the patient's life. In either case, a transplant may be the best option.

A pancreas transplant is a surgical procedure to treat patients with poorly controlled insulin-dependent diabetes. It replaces the need for insulin with a healthy pancreas from a deceased donor.

A simultaneous pancreas-kidney (SPK) transplant is a surgical procedure to replace both a kidney and pancreas at the same time. This occurs for someone who has kidney failure relating to type 1 diabetes.

The service assesses potential recipients and donors. It's also responsible for the transplant operation and inpatient care.