Risks

Complications of the procedure

Pancreas transplant surgery carries a risk of significant complications, including:

  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Excess sugar in the blood (hyperglycemia) or other metabolic problems
  • Urinary complications, including leaking or urinary tract infections
  • Failure of the donated pancreas
  • Rejection of the donated pancreas

Anti-rejection medication side effects

After a pancreas transplant, you'll take medications for the rest of your life to help prevent your body from rejecting the donor pancreas. These anti-rejection medications can cause a variety of side effects, including:

  • Bone thinning (osteoporosis)
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Puffiness
  • Weight gain
  • Swollen gums
  • Acne
  • Excessive hair growth or loss

All anti-rejection drugs work by suppressing your immune system, which also makes it harder for your body to defend itself against infection and disease.

June 24, 2016
References
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  2. Klein C, et al. Benefits and complications associated with kidney-pancreas transplantation in diabetes mellitus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 21, 2016.
  3. Pancreas transplantation. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/transplantation/pancreas-transplantation.html. Accessed March 21, 2016.
  4. Robertson RP. Pancreas and islet transplantation in diabetes mellitus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 21, 2016.
  5. Health after transplantation. American Society of Transplantation. http://www.healthytransplant.com/health_maintenance/health_after_transplantation.aspx Accessed March 22, 2016.
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  17. Guidance for industry: Considerations for allogeneic pancreatic islet cell products. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/CellularandGeneTherapy/ucm182440.htm. Accessed March 28, 2016.
  18. Pancreatic islet transplantation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/pancreatic-islet-transplantation/Pages/index.aspx. Accessed March 28, 2016.
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