The surgery begins by removing the kidney from the living donor in an operating room after the donor is anesthetized. If the donor is deceased, the kidney and pancreas are removed at the same time as other organs that are also being used for transplantation. It is customary to transplant both kidney and pancreas together from the same donor. The donor kidney is placed on the lower side of the recipient's abdomen, where it is surgically connected to blood vessels and the bladder. The new pancreas is placed on the lower side of the recipient's abdomen, where it is also surgically connected to nearby blood vessels. Once all connections have been made, the incision is closed. Monitoring is then done for the rejection episodes of both organs via the kidney graft.
The kidney/pancreas transplant surgical procedure takes approximately five to seven hours to complete, but may be different for every patient. Families should talk with the surgeon about what to expect.
Postoperative care begins with a team of heath professionals within the hospital. Careful, comprehensive post-surgical monitoring constantly evaluates whether the body is accepting the new organ. In addition, the amount of time you spend in the recovery room, waking up and getting to the point that you're ready to go home, will vary from patient to patient. Because individual experience after recovery is so unique, it is important to discuss with your physician what to expect after surgery.
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is committed to providing accurate and reliable information for transplant patients. The content on this page was originally created on August 1, 2003 by UNOS and last modified on October 10, 2003. The following sources were used as references:
Mize, Janet B. "Pancreas and Simultaneous Pancreas-Kidney Transplantation." Transplantation Nursing Secrets. Philadelphia: Hanley and Belfus, 2003.
This Web site is intended solely for the purpose of electronically providing the public with general health-related information and convenient access to the data resources. UNOS is not affiliated with any one product nor does UNOS assume responsibility for any error, omissions or other discrepancies.