Islet transplant offers alternative to pancreas transplant for patients with chronic pancreatitis
The main job of the pancreas is to secrete digestive enzymes, but tiny clusters of cells called islets have the important job of producing insulin. A relatively new surgical option for patients with chronic pancreatitis involves removal of the pancreas. The islets are salvaged and relocated to the patient's liver, where they continue their job of producing insulin. Patients then take pancreatic enzymes to aid in digestion. Mark Laftavi, MD, professor of surgery and interim chief of transplant services at Upstate University Hospital, explains the procedure -- and how it may also be used to help people with severe forms of diabetes. For more information on islet transplants, call 315-464-5413.