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Pancreas transplant an option for people with severe diabetes

Mark Reza Laftavi, MD and Rainer Gruessner, MDUpstate doctors are now offering a pancreas transplant option for some patients with diabetes, the most common cause of kidney failure. A pancreas transplant may be a proactive way for many with diabetes, especially the more severe cases, to avoid kidney failure, says Rainer Gruessner, MD (at right in photo), Upstate‘s transplant chief and professor of surgery. His colleague, surgeon Mark Reza Laftavi, MD (at left), director of Upstate's Pancreas Transplant Program, describes the dangers diabetes poses to the kidneys and other organs. Gruessner and his team offer pancreas transplants -- separately or combined with kidney transplants -- and says a pancreas transplant can improve the lives of some patients with diabetes and also halt or reverse some complications. For pancreas transplants, a deceased donor's organ is implanted in the recipient, who retains his or her original pancreas, which continues to produce digestive enzymes. The new pancreas immediately begins producing insulin.