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Pancreas Transplant

What is Pancreas?
Located in the abdominal cavity of human beings, behind the stomach to be particular, Pancreas is a vital organ of the human digestive system and endocrine system. It is a flattened gland secreting a number of essential hormones in the human body including insulin, somatostatin, pancreatic polypeptide and glucagon. Insulin secreted by Pancreas makes it an essential organ for controlling blood sugar levels in human body. It releases pancreatic juice that contains various digestive enzymes; these digestive enzymes help small intestine in nutrient absorption and the digestion process. 

 Why is Transplant Needed?
Pancreas could have to be transplanted due to various reasons; major ones amongst them are discussed below-

  • Type 1 diabetes is the most common reason for removing an unhealthy pancreas and placing a healthy one at its place. Pancreatic transplant helps people suffering from type 1 diabetes to get rid of this severe health problem and live a normal life again.
  • In some cases, patients suffering from type 2 diabetes are also treated by removing their Pancreas and replacing it with the healthy one.
  • Very rare cases of pancreatic cancer also require pancreas to be removed and replaced by a healthy one.

Pancreas transplant can be achieved only through a full-fledged, major surgery. The surgical process of transplanting a Pancreas does not involve taking out the native pancreas of the patient out of his or her body; only the new, healthy pancreas is implanted into the patient’s body.


Transplant Procedures
Pancreas transplant procedure starts by giving general anesthesia to the patient and putting him or her on the breathing machine. The surgeons then make an incision in the lower part of the abdomen nearby the pancreas location in the body. The native pancreas of the patient is not removed and is left at its original location. The new pancreas is placed in the lower abdomen of the patient by attaching it to the necessary blood vessels, bladder, and intestine.  

Advantages
The Pancreas transplant procedure enjoys several advantages over other prevalent treatment methods, as discussed below: -

  • Pancreas transplant offers a long lasting and satisfactory solution to all those who suffer from diabetes type 1 as well as type 2 in certain cases.
  • The newly transplanted pancreas not only produces insulin but also secretes a lot of other hormones as well. All these hormones are essential to the proper functioning of human body.
  • There is no need to take out the native pancreas of a patient who is undergoing pancreas transplant. Both the pancreas is left in the patient’s body.

 

Post-Transplant Care
Most of the patients need intensive care after the surgical process. So they are directly sent to the ICU, for around 4 to 5 days, after the surgery gets over. In most of the cases, patients get discharged after 6 to 7 days. There are many things that one needs to take care of after the pancreas transplant. Some of which are discussed below –

  • Patient should follow a strict diet chart and consume only those eatables and drinks which are approved by the doctor.
  • Patient must ensure that he or she takes proper dose of suggested medications including the immunosuppressants.    

Follow Up
Patients need to come to the hospital regularly after undergoing the pancreas transplant surgery. These follow-ups help to recover better and stronger as the doctor is able to closely monitor the patient.

 

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