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Pancreas Transplant

Pancreas Transplantation at UCLA

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical CenterIn 1993, Dr. Busuttil brought together a team of physicians and surgeons from the Departments of Medicine, Surgery and Urology and established the multidisciplinary UCLA Pancreas Transplant Program. The Director of the program is now Dr. Gerald S. Lipshutz who joined the UCLA faculty in 2004. Since 1993, more than 250 diabetic kidney transplant patients have also received a pancreas transplant at UCLA. The team now performs a pancreas transplant once every two to three weeks on average, providing more than 95% patients with freedom from insulin therapy.

Types of Pancreas Transplants Performed at UCLA

Pancreas transplantation is the only current treatment for type 1 diabetes that provides patients freedom from insulin therapy. However, after this surgery, patients must always take medications to prevent transplant rejection and these medications may have side effects. For these reasons, UCLA physicians usually recommend this treatment only to patients that are also in need of a kidney transplant or have already received a kidney transplant.

Pancreas Anatomy IllustrationWhen the pancreas and kidney transplant both come from the same deceased organ donor, and the surgeons transplant the organs at the same operation, the UCLA doctors call this a simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant. When the patient has already received a kidney transplant, commonly from a live donor, and the surgeons later transplant a pancreas from a different deceased organ donor, the UCLA doctors call this a pancreas after kidney transplant. The UCLA physicians will recommend pancreas transplantation alone to carefully selected patients that have severe problems treating their diabetes with insulin injections, but are not in need of a kidney transplant.

Health Library

The pancreas resides in the back of the abdomen. It functions to produce digestive enzymes which are delivered to the small intestine (duodenum) and various hormones, which are delivered to the bloodstream. One of the most important hormones produced by the pancreas is insulin. Insulin is produced by specialized cells of the pancreas called islets of Langerhans. Insulin regulates blood sugar levels.

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UCLA Pancreas Transplant Program offers select patients freedom from insulin therapyOur Expert Team

Contact Us

How to Refer a Patient

  • Patients may self refer or have their primary physicians refer them to the UCLA Pancreas Transplant Program
  • Phone: (310) 825-6836

How You Can Help



The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) provides a toll-free patient services lines to help transplant candidates, recipients, and family members understand organ allocation practices and transplantation data. You may also call this number to discuss problems you may be experiencing with your transplant center or the transplantation system in general. The toll-free patient services line number is 1-888-894-6361


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