Pancreas transplantation: a treatment option for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

Diabetes Metab. 1996 Apr;22(2):139-46.


The success with which pancreas transplantation normalizes glucose concentration in patients with Type I diabetes mellitus has made it an important treatment option. Most pancreas transplant operations are performed in combination with a kidney transplant, and neither overall patient survival nor renal graft survival is compromised by the addition of a pancreas graft. Pancreas after kidney transplantation and isolated pancreas transplantation are performed less frequently since the pancreas graft success rate remains lower in these operations compared to combined pancreas-kidney transplantation. Pancreas transplantation improves the quality of life and stabilizes or reverses some diabetic microvascular complications, but its impact on the risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease is still unknown. The relative risks and benefits of pancreas transplantation need to be carefully assessed for each candidate through a thorough screening process, regardless of which type of graft is being considered. However, patient counseling and selection will be greatly aided by further research assessing the long-term risks and benefits of all types of pancreas transplantation. Pancreas transplantation will probably remain an important treatment option for some patients with Type I diabetes mellitus until this disease can either be successfully prevented or alternative treatment strategies are developed that provide equal glycaemic control with less or no associated immunosuppression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / mortality
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / surgery*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / prevention & control
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / mortality
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / surgery
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / methods
  • Kidney Transplantation / mortality
  • Pancreas Transplantation* / methods
  • Pancreas Transplantation* / mortality
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate


  • Blood Glucose