For information about combined kidney/pancreas transplantation, the information contained within this section should be considered in conjunction with the information contained within the Kidney Transplantation Inpatient Stay section.
Day of Surgery
- You will be admitted directly to the Transplant Unit.
- Blood samples will be obtained.
- A chest x-ray and EKG will be obtained.
- You will be given a solution to drink that will cleanse your bowel.
- You will go to surgery within hours of being admitted
- Usually lasts 4-8 hours
Post-Operative Days 1-6
- You will probably come back to the Transplant Unit right after surgery, but a few patients go to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit for a short period of time.
- Your vital signs and blood sugars will be monitored hourly at first, and then the frequency will decrease as you stabilize further.
- You will not be eating at first to allow your bowel to heal and "wake up" from surgery. Currently at UI Hospitals and Clinics, most patients who receive pancreas transplants have part of their transplanted pancreas hooked up to their bowel. This requires time to heal, and patients generally do not drink large quantities of fluid or eat for at least five to six days. You will have a nasogastric tube going down your nose and into your stomach to drain gastric secretions while your bowel heals (this will be placed while you are under anesthesia). You may also receive medications through this tube, although some patients prefer to swallow their pills with a few small sips of water. During this time while you are not taking in anything (other than medications) by mouth, you will receive nutrition via an IV placed in your neck or chest. When it is determined that you are ready to begin taking nutrition by mouth, you will start with clear liquids and gradually progress to solid foods.
- You will have a Foley catheter inserted into your bladder to drain your urine. This also will be placed while you are under anesthesia. This will remain in place for a few days until there is no longer a need to monitor your urine output closely. If you have received a combined kidney/pancreas transplant, however, this will remain in place for 4-5 days to allow your bladder time to heal.
- Blood will be drawn from your arm daily to monitor your pancreas function and medication levels.
- You will be assisted to get out of bed the first day after surgery, and you will increase the amount of activity daily to prevent complications such as pneumonia and blood clots.
- Transplant nurses will help you to learn your new medications and the signs and symptoms of both rejection and infection.
Post-Operative Day 6 to Discharge
- Pancreas recipients usually go home two to three weeks after surgery.
- You may be able to begin taking in clear liquids at mealtimes about
Post-Op Day 6. If you tolerate clear liquids, you will have the nasogastric
- You will still have blood drawn once a day and will probably have your blood sugar checked at least a couple times a day.
- You will continue to learn how to take care of yourself and your new organ. By the time you go home, you will know all your medications, their purposes, when to take them, and some side effects. You will also know signs and symptoms of rejection and infection. All this information will be written down for you as a reference. A Transplant Coordinator Nurse will speak with you to arrange for local laboratory bloodwork and further follow-up. You will have your first follow-up appointment in the Transplant Clinic about a week after discharge, and you will know the date and time of this appointment before you go home.
Go to Follow-Up Care