Johns Hopkins Auto Islet Transplant Program
Our program provides advanced treatment for a variety of pancreas disorders including pancreatitis.
Why Choose Johns Hopkins Auto-Islet Transplant Program?
Our program provides comprehensive care for all patients. Learn what makes the Johns Hopkins Auto-Islet Program unique:
The pancreas creates digestive enzymes for food digestion and also creates insulin to control your blood sugar level.
An auto-islet transplant, also known as a total pancreatectomy with auto islet cell transplantation or Islet Autotransplantation, is an operation where your entire pancreas is removed. The pancreas is then processed in a machine that isolates the insulin-producing cells, known as the islets of Langerhans (islets). The isolated cells are placed in an IV bag with a solution. The solution is then infused into the liver.
An auto islet transplant may be required if you need treatment for pain and complications associated from the following disorders
- Recurrent acute pancreatitis
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Hereditary pancreatitis to prevent pancreatic cancer
Patients who are candidates for auto islet transplant surgery may also be candidates for laparoscopic islet transplantation, which is a minimally-invasive procedure. Several factors can affect a person's candidacy for the laparoscopic procedure which include having extensive prior surgeries, presence of scar tissue, and body weight.
The auto-islet transplant procedure uses your own tissue so there is no wait time.
Nurse Practitioner Staff
Christi Walsh, MSN, CRNP
Nurse Practitioner and Director of Clinical Research
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Learn more about the risks, evaluation process and recovery.
As with any other surgery there is a risk of infection, bleeding and a death. Other risks include becoming diabetic and requiring lifelong use of insulin to control blood sugar levels.
You will meet with several specialists, including a surgeon, a gastroenterologist, an endocrinologist, and other specialists. You will need lab work and the transplant team will meet to discuss your case and eligibility.
You will be in the intensive care unit for approximately 2-4 days after the procedure. You may spend a remainder of 6-10 days in the hospital for adequate rest and healing.
When you are discharged from the hospital you will not be able to drive or lift anything over 10 pounds for 6-8 weeks after surgery. You will be able to go up and down steps and should be able to eat a regular diet. You may have a home care nurse assist you if you require insulin.
Your follow-up appointments may start two and four weeks after you have been discharged, then three, six, nine, and 12 months post-surgery. Afterwards, you may have one annual follow-up visit.