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Pancreas Transplantation

The Center for Organ Transplantation at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center is the leading provider of transplant services in southern New Jersey. Lourdes is one of only a few hospitals in the state of New Jersey approved to perform pancreas transplants.

Since 1995, our staff of doctors, nurse coordinators, social workers and other specialists has been giving individuals the best care possible before, during and after pancreas transplant surgery.

Diabetics who experience frequent insulin reactions or poor blood sugar control despite good medication management (“brittle diabetes”) might consider pancreas transplantation. Patients who have early signs of kidney damage may also benefit.

Lourdes also performs simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplants. Since many diabetics eventually experience poor kidney function, a pancreas-kidney transplant can help patients avoid dialysis and other complications.

The United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) maintains a national list of organ transplant candidates. When an organ becomes available, candidates who are listed with that region’s organ procurement organization (OPO) are given top priority. To increase the chances of receiving an organ, patients can be listed at more than one transplant center as long as they are affiliated with a different OPO. For example, patients can be listed with both Lourdes, which is affiliated with the Sharing Network, as well as any of the Philadelphia hospitals that provide transplant services, which are affiliated with the Gift of Life organization.

Sources of Organs

Thousands of people in the United States today are on waiting lists for organ transplants. Close to 1,800 are waiting for pancreas transplants, and 2,500 for pancreas-kidney transplants.

Organs used in a pancreas-only or a pancreas-kidney transplant procedure come from deceased donors. Because kidneys can also come from living donors and be quicker to obtain, patients may have the kidney transplant first and then wait for a pancreas to become available.

What to Expect

A doctor, nurse or other health care professional can refer patients. Individuals may also self refer to be considered for transplant surgery.

During the initial appointment, patients will have a comprehensive series of medical tests and interviews with members of the Lourdes transplant team including surgeons, transplant coordinator nurses, social workers, dietitians, finance mangers and other specialists.

After determining if the patient would benefit from a pancreas or pancreas-kidney transplant, patients are placed on the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) list to wait for a deceased donor organ(s) to become available. A series of tests are performed on all donated organs to ensure they are functioning and disease-free prior to transplantation.

The Surgery

Patients are closely monitored following surgery. Following a successful surgery, the donor pancreas should function immediately. Patients typically remain in the hospital for about one week.

Life after Transplant

While patients may begin to resume normal daily activities within three to six weeks after surgery, their relationship with Lourdes will continue. Following surgery, daily anti-rejection medications are prescribed to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ(s). Patients will return for regular checkups so the team can evaluate the patient’s overall health and the new organ(s’) function. We consider each individual who receives a transplant a member of the Lourdes family.

Financial Considerations

All medical expenses associated with pancreas transplants are covered by your insurance. Our transplant finance manager will answer any questions you may have regarding your insurance coverage.

To Contact the Transplant Team

To schedule an appointment or speak to any member of the Lourdes Transplant team, call 856-757-3840. Free parking is available.

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