Pancreas Transplant

Has life with Type 1 Diabetes become a burden?

Do you struggle with complications of Type 1 Diabetes?

Is your kidney function deteriorating?

Can you imagine finally living life without daily insulin injections?

For patients who are suffering from the complications of Type 1 diabetes, including kidney failure, our pancreas transplant team is here to help.

When you visit the Transplant Center at Nebraska Medicine, members of our pancreas team will help determine your eligibility for a pancreas (and possible simultaneous kidney) transplant. As one of the first U.S. hospitals to perform this procedure, our outcomes continue to meet or exceed national standards.

From the time you enter our doors to long after you return home from surgery, our dedicated team will be here to support you on your journey to better health.


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Patient Guides

Are You a Pancreas Transplant Candidate?

The pancreas is a slender gland located between your stomach and spinal cord on the left side of the abdomen. This gland has two major functions: 1) to regulate your blood sugar by making insulin and glucagon; 2) to produce a digestive enzyme that is secreted into the small intestine (bowel) to help with digestion. If you have diabetes mellitus Type I, your pancreas is not making enough insulin to regulate your blood sugar.

If you have diabetes, your doctor or the transplant center can conduct tests to determine whether you have Type I diabetes (not enough insulin) or Type 2 diabetes (your body is not able to use the insulin that is being made). You may be referred to an endocrinologist, a physician who specializes in diabetes who can provide further diagnosis, treatment and education about being diabetic.

Diabetes mellitus is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and accounts for approximately 40 percent of patients newly diagnosed with renal failure each year. If you have kidney failure caused by Type I diabetes (also known as Juvenile Diabetes), you may be a candidate for a simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant. If you don't have kidney failure with your diabetes, or your kidney failure is mild, you may qualify for a pancreas-only transplant. Some patients with Type II diabetes may also be considered for a pancreas transplant.

Whether you are in the beginning stages of diabetic complications or deteriorating kidney function, we understand that you and your family will have questions. That is why we have a designated transplant team member who is available to talk with you about your disease, various treatment options and which options are best suited for you. In addition, our team of doctors, nurses, technicians, dietitians, social workers and many others is available to provide care and support throughout the transplant process, during your hospital stay and even after you return home.

Nebraska Medicine's Transplant Center offers several treatment options for patients with diabetes:

Pancreas-Only Transplants

Pancreas-only transplants are performed if you are experiencing the beginning stages of diabetic complications or have "brittle" control, have frequent episodes of insulin reactions and have good kidney function to tolerate the anti-rejection medications.

Kidney/Pancreas Transplant

This dual transplant is considered when individuals with Type I or Type II diabetes mellitus have developed kidney failure as a result of diabetes and have completed a transplant evaluation. The patients are placed on the deceased donor list and receive a kidney and pancreas from the same donor. If patients have acceptable kidney donors, we can proceed with the living-donor kidney transplant. When patients recover from this surgery, they are placed on the waiting list for a pancreas (after kidney) transplant.

Auto-Islet Cell Transplant

Some patients with chronic pancreatitis may need to have their pancreas surgically removed (pancreatectomy). Others may be candidates for an alternative procedure known as the auto-islet cell transplant. Islet cells are part of the pancreas function that makes insulin and controls blood sugar. During an auto-islet transplant the pancreas is removed and a special laboratory removes the islet cells. A surgeon will then transplant the islet cells into the liver. Once transplanted, the islet cells begin to make insulin with the goal that the patient will not need daily insulin injections. If the pancreas has sustained too much damage due to pancreatitis, an auto islet-cell transplant may not be possible. Patients seeking an auto-islet cell transplant will be referred to the Comprehensive Pancreatobiliary Disorders & Autologous Islet Transplant Team. For more information about this procedure, please visit or call 402.559.5008.

Why Choose Nebraska Medicine?

Nebraska Medicine is home to one of the most reputable and well-known transplant programs in the United States. Through our dedicated efforts in education, research and clinical medicine, we have helped shape the field of transplantation. The world-class reputation of our programs and physicians attracts patients from across the country and around the world.

  • We offer the latest therapies and expertise for treatment of diabetes.
  • Our program started in 1989 as one of the first pancreatic programs in the country. Since that time, we have performed more than 625 pancreas transplants.
  • Our pancreas transplant outcomes meet or exceed national averages.
  • We offer a unique auto-islet cell transplantation procedure for pancreatectomy patients.
  • We consistently rank among the top centers performing pancreas transplants, including making U.S. News and World Report's Best Hospital's List for both Nephrology and Urology.


The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) is an ever-expanding national database of transplantation statistics. Founded in 1987, the registry exists to support the ongoing evaluation of the scientific and clinical status of solid organ transplantation, including kidney, heart, liver, lung, intestine and pancreas.

Data in the registry is collected by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) from hospitals and organ procurement organizations (OPOs) across the country. The SRTR contains current and past information about the full continuum of transplant activity--from organ donation and waiting list candidates to transplant recipients and survival statistics. This information is used to help develop evidence-based policy, to support analysis of transplant programs and OPOs, and to encourage research on issues of importance to the transplant community.