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Pancreas Transplantation

Overview :

Once a donor pancreas is located, the patient is prepared for surgery. Since only about 1,000 pancreas transplants are performed each year in the United States, the operation usually occurs at a hospital where surgeons have special expertise in the procedure.

The surgeon makes an incision under the ribs and locates the pancreas and duodenum. The pancreas and duodenum (part of the small intestine) are removed. The new pancreas and duodenum are then connected to the patient's blood vessels.

Replacing the duodenum allows the pancreas to drain into the gastrointestinal system. The transplant can also be done creating a bladder drainage. Bladder drainage makes it easier to monitor organ rejection. Once the new pancreas is in place, the abdomen and skin are closed. This surgery is often done at the same time as kidney transplant surgery.

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