Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Patients who need a pancreas transplant should know that they have a number of options. Even more important, our doctors are performing these surgeries more commonly, making them more successful and effective than ever.
Pancreas Transplant at Fletcher Allen
Our transplant surgery program includes a number of surgery options we can customize to your needs. Because most patients who need a pancreas transplant have diabetes, we understand that you may also experience complications from kidney disease now or in the future. We designed our transplant program to meet all of your health needs. We offer:
- Pancreas transplant alone
- Pancreas transplant after kidney transplant
- Simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplant surgery
A combined kidney and pancreas transplant is an option for diabetics who have kidney failure or need dialysis treatment. Learn more about kidney transplant.
Is Pancreas Transplant Surgery Right for Me?
Candidates for pancreas transplantation are Type I diabetics who take insulin to control blood sugar levels. You may experience episodes of hypoglycemic unawareness, meaning you fail to experience the usual warning signs of a deep drop in blood sugar and become unable to treat yourself. All potential candidates must undergo a transplant evaluation to determine if you are a good candidate for transplant surgery.
A pancreas transplant is not recommended if you are diabetic with excellent control of your disease with insulin therapy, or if you not have any complications from diabetes.
Your transplant will involve lifetime treatment, including taking immunosuppressant medications every day, so it’s important to think about how that will change your life. Ask yourself:
- What are the risks and benefits to transplantation?
- How will I manage the medication regimen after transplant?
- Who will provide personal support for me?
- What will the out-of-pocket expenses be?
- What transportation options are available during the course of my treatment?
- How often will I need to come back and forth to the hospital?
- What will my insurance cover? Is there a cap or maximum on my insurance coverage?
Learn more about life after transplant surgery.
Pancreas Transplant vs. Insulin Therapy
Your pancreas produces hormones such as insulin and digestive juices called enzymes, and helps regulate your blood sugar levels. Special cells in your pancreas called islet cells produce insulin, a hormone that responds to your body’s blood sugar from moment to moment. You may develop diabetes if insulin fails to work properly. There are two types of diabetes:
- Type I Diabetes: the pancreas does not produce insulin
- Type II Diabetes: the pancreas makes insulin but your body cannot use it properly
Insulin injections, dietary restrictions and regular doctor visits can help people with Type 1 or Type II diabetes live normal or near normal lives. Still, 50 percent of people who have diabetes develop problems such as kidney disease, heart disease, eye and nerve damage, and disease of the blood vessels of the arms and feet.
People who cannot control their diabetes with insulin should seriously consider a pancreas transplant. Only a functioning pancreas with healthy islet cells can effectively control blood sugars and prevent complications.
Referrals to Fletcher Allen Transplant Surgery
Primary care physicians and specialist physicians refer patients to Fletcher Allen Transplant Surgery. Our team responds to each referral. The referral process can be started with a phone call to our office: 802-847-4774.