A pancreas transplant offers a potential cure for type 1 diabetes, but it's not a standard treatment. Often the side effects of the anti-rejection medications required after a pancreas transplant can be serious. But if you have any of the following, a pancreas transplant may be worth considering:
- Type 1 diabetes that can't be controlled with standard treatment
- Frequent insulin reactions
- Consistently poor blood sugar control
- Severe kidney damage
Because type 2 diabetes occurs due to the body's inability to use insulin properly — and not because of a problem with insulin production in the pancreas — a pancreas transplant isn't a treatment option for most people with type 2 diabetes.
If you have severe kidney damage due to type 1 diabetes, a pancreas transplant may be combined with a kidney transplant or be done after successful kidney transplantation. This strategy aims to give you a healthy kidney and a pancreas that are unlikely to contribute to diabetes-related kidney damage in the future.