A pancreas transplant is a surgical procedure to place a healthy pancreas from a deceased donor into a person whose pancreas no longer functions properly. The pancreas is an organ that lies behind the lower part of the stomach. One of its main functions is to make insulin, a hormone that regulates the absorption of sugar into cells. If the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin, blood sugar levels can rise to unhealthy levels, resulting in type 1 diabetes. Most pancreas transplants are done to treat type 1 diabetes. A pancreas transplant offers a potential cure for this condition. But it's typically reserved for those with serious complications of diabetes because the side effects of a pancreas transplant can be significant.In some cases, pancreas transplants may also treat type 2 diabetes. Rarely, pancreas transplants may be used in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, bile duct cancer or other cancers. A pancreas transplant is often done in conjunction with a kidney transplant in people whose kidneys have been damaged by diabetes.
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