Treatments & Procedures

Your journey to a pancreas transplant at the Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center starts with a detailed evaluation and assessment of your health to give us an accurate picture of the severity of your condition and your fitness for surgery. 

During the evaluation, you will meet with a financial counselor to review your insurance coverage and discuss the financial considerations associated with a pancreas transplant. You will also meet with a social worker who will conduct an evaluation to ensure that you and your family are emotionally prepared for the stress that often accompanies the transplant process.

While on the Wait List
Once a patient is accepted by a transplant program, he or she is put on a national computer wait list kept by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to ensure that all patients in need of a transplant are given fair access to donor organs. Rules, called allocation policies, have been established to determine how transplant candidates are ranked on the wait list for each type of organ.

During the waiting period
Once you are on the list, your wait for a donor organ begins. You need to be ready to receive a transplant from the time you are placed on the list. You will be seen in the transplant clinic every six months to one year for labs and follow-up appointments. During the waiting period, you and your caregivers are encouraged to attend our education classes on the transplant process. 

The Pancreas Transplant Surgery
Before your transplant surgery, your anesthesiologist will talk with you and explain what will occur during the surgery. You will be given general anesthesia so you will be asleep.

You will be in the operating room for approximately four to six hours.

After Pancreas Transplant Surgery
After your surgery, you will be taken to the transplant recovery area. 

The transplant team will help you manage any pain you may experience after surgery. Most patients find their pain decreases within a day or two of surgery. Getting out of bed and walking may help reduce pain.

Your stay in the hospital may last about seven days or as long as your transplant team feels is necessary.

Going Home and Staying Healthy
You will continue your recovery at home. During the first eight weeks after surgery, your everyday activities will be limited, including not lifting anything more than 10 to 15 pounds. You may return to most normal activities within a few months.

Our team will monitor your progress during recovery, so you must be available for clinic visits and lab tests; follow-up monitoring allows us to determine how well your new pancreas is working. 

About a year after surgery, you will likely only need to meet with the transplant team twice a year. At the two year mark, you will only meet with the team once a year.

To take care of your new pancreas for the long term, we will work with you to create a healthy diet and exercise plan, one that will help you regain your strength and reduce the risks of potential diseases that pose a risk to your new organ, such as pancreatitis.

To read more detailed information about what to expect regarding the general transplant process and what issues you will need to address once you return home after your transplant, click here .


Our physicians specialize in pancreas transplantation at the following locations.