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Pancreas Transplant Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for a pancreas transplant or a combined kidney and pancreas transplant?
 
The indication for a pancreas-only transplant is Type 1 insulin dependent diabetes in a patient with a well functioning transplanted kidney or native kidney. The indication for a pancreas/kidney transplant is Type 1 insulin dependent diabetes with renal failure.
 
Is there an age limit for pancreas transplant or combined kidney and pancreas transplant?
 
In general, patients of advanced age are not accepted for pancreas transplant or combined kidney and pancreas transplant. A patient's medical status is a more important consideration than chronological age but in general, patients greater than 50-55 years of age are rarely accepted.
 
Can I get a pancreas transplant if I have Type II insulin dependent diabetes?
 
No, because this type of diabetes is caused from insulin resistance, not the lack of insulin production. A new pancreas would not provide sufficient insulin production to maintain an insulin free state.
 
Do you transplant pancreatic islet cells?
 
Yes, they are done through our clinical studies office.
 
Will my insurance pay for a pancreas or combined kidney and pancreas transplant?
 
UW Health has contracts with many insurance providers, Medicare and Wisconsin Medicaid. You need to contact your insurance company to find out your coverage for the costs of your transplant surgery. After contacting your insurance company, if you still have questions, you may call 608-263-1503 and ask for one of our transplant financial counselors to assist you.
 
How long will it take before I don't need insulin?
 
Typically, you are insulin-free immediately after surgery, but in rare cases it can take 24-48 hours.
 
How long will I wait for a pancreas transplant?
 
The waiting list varies according to blood type. The range is three months to two years.
 
Do I have to continue to have follow-up appointments at the UW Hospital and Clinics?
 
Yes, we prefer to monitor all of our patients on a six-month or annual basis at a minimum. Early after transplant you will be seen every two to three months.
 
How long will I be in the hospital?
 
The average length of stay is eight to 10 days. If you live further than eight hours away, you may need to remain in Madison following discharge.
 
How long will my organs last?
 
Each pancreas transplant is different but the overall success rates of pancreas transplant are very good.
 
How do I make an appointment for an evaluation?
 
All patients interested in a pancreas transplant will undergo a phone interview with a transplant coordinator. The coordinator will determine if you meet the criteria, explain the recommended testing and then connect you with the appointment desk. You can either call 608-263-1384 for an appointment or have your primary physician refer you to our center.