Pancreas Transplant


Unmatched Expertise in Diabetes and Transplant 

The Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center has unmatched expertise in transplant options for diabetic patients and, our surgeons have been national leaders in the development of this discipline.


For patients with diabetes, pancreas, kidney and pancreas combined, or islet transplant is increasingly a solution. New research suggests pancreas transplant stabilizes and even reverses eye, kidney and nerve damage caused by diabetes. Patients often experience an immediately improved quality of life with normal blood sugar, unrestricted diet and no insulin injections.


Offering Hope for Patients with Advanced Diabetes or Pancreatitis

We treat each patient as an individual, regardless of condition or complexity. Patients travel one of three paths:


  • Combined kidney and pancreas transplant – transplanting a healthy pancreas from a deceased donor and a kidney from a deceased or living donor
    • Who benefits?
      • Insulin-dependent diabetic patients with declining kidney function and have a body mass index (BMI) under 30
    • Why living donation?
      • A living kidney donor can help a patient with kidney failure avoid dialysis or be removed from dialysis as he or she waits for a pancreas transplant. Living donor transplants have better outcomes and last longer than deceased donor transplants.
  • Pancreas transplant – transplanting a healthy pancreas from a deceased donor into a patient with a diseased pancreas
    • Who benefits?
      • Insulin-deficient diabetic patients who have normal kidney function
      • Patients with chronic, insulin-resistant pancreatitis who are or will be diabetic
  • Autologous (or auto) islet transplant – removing a patient’s pancreas, then extracting his or her own islets (organelles that secrete insulin) and implanting them back into the patient, typically into the liver
    • Who benefits?
      • Chronic pancreatitis patients who have good islet function


Life After Transplant

After a kidney-pancreas, pancreas alone or islet transplant, patients often experience an immediate improved quality of life with normal blood sugar, unrestricted diet and no insulin injections.


Organ transplant can add years and quality to a person’s life, with renewed independence from dialysis, fewer dietary restrictions and increased energy. Transplant does involve many follow-up appointments and lifelong medications. Coupled with keeping as healthy as possible, patients return to their normal lives.


Leading Research for Diabetic Patients

Our doctors and researchers are intensely focused on curing longstanding diabetes. While considered experimental and not typically covered by insurance, select patients may benefit from allograft islet transplants, in which our surgeons remove islets from a deceased donor’s pancreas and implant them in a patient’s liver. We assess and advise on the best treatment option for each patient.



Our doctors specialize in pancreas transplantation at the following locations: