Functions of the Pancreas
The pancreas is a 5 to 6 inch gland located behind the stomach; it extends horizontally between the duodenum and the spleen. One function of the pancreas is to produce enzymes that are used for digestion. It also produces insulin, which is essential for life because it regulates the use of blood sugar throughout the body.
Pancreas Transplant Procedures
A pancreas transplant may involve either the whole pancreas or a pancreas segment. Whole organ transplants are far more common but a segmental transplant is possible. Segmental transplants are done if a living donor is involved. Many pancreas transplants also involve transplantation of the duodenum.
The kidney is frequently transplanted with the pancreas in the U.S. Many people suffering from pancreas failure also have renal failure. In most cases a kidney-pancreas transplant is performed from a deceased donor. But there have been several transplants performed using a living donor, with one kidney and a pancreas segment being donated.
Reasons for Pancreas Transplants