Pancreas transplant

Pancreas transplant frequently asked questions

When can someone get a pancreas transplant or a combined kidney and pancreas transplant?

These people may qualify for a pancreas transplant:

  • People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who are insulin dependent but have good kidney function

  • People who are insulin dependent diabetics who have hypoglycemic unawareness (not aware they are having a deep drop in blood sugar)

  • People who are diabetic after having their pancreas removed

These people may qualify for a combined kidney and pancreas transplant:

  • People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who are insulin dependent with poor kidney function.

Is there an age limit for pancreas transplant or combined kidney and pancreas transplant?

Your medical status is a more important consideration than your age, but patients older than age 65 are rarely transplanted.

Will my insurance pay for a pancreas or combined kidney and pancreas transplant?

UW Health is a Center of Excellence for most insurance providers. Your insurance company will assist you with coverage details. We will help you if you have more questions.

How long will it take before I don't need insulin?

Most patients are insulin-free immediately after surgery. In some cases, it can take 24-48 hours.

How long will I wait for a pancreas transplant?

The length of time on the waiting list varies according to blood type. The range at our program is three months to two years, but can be shorter for an isolated pancreas transplant. Our wait times are shorter than both the regional and national averages.

Do I have to continue to have follow-up appointments at University Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin?

In the first year after transplant, you will be seen every few weeks at University Hospital, but visits will gradually lesson to every two to three months. After the first year, we continue to see our patients every six to 12 months. We have several outreach clinic locations, and patients who are one year post-transplant may ask to transfer their care to one of these locations or to their local transplant center.

How long will I be in the hospital?

The average time spent in the hospital after pancreas transplant is seven to 10 days. If you live further away than six to eight hours, you may need to remain in Madison for a few weeks after you are released from the hospital.

How long will my pancreas last?

Each pancreas transplant is different, but the success rate of pancreas transplant is very good.

How do I make an appointment for an evaluation?

You can call (608) 263-9531 or contact us to start the process or you can ask your primary care physician or endocrinologist to refer you to our center. A nurse transplant coordinator will call you to talk about your health and to explain the tests you will need.

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