Pancreas Transplant

pancreas-transplant-OG.jpgIf you suffer from type 1 diabetes, you may be a candidate for a pancreas transplant.

With a healthy pancreas from a donor, your body may be able to create enough insulin on its own that you can forego daily insulin injections and save your kidneys from suffering further damage from diabetes.

What We Offer

OSF Saint Francis Medical Center provides a close-to-home option for people in Central Illinois, so they can receive treatment and recover near their personal support system of family and friends.

There is no compromise on quality of care, either. OSF Saint Francis is staffed by experienced specialists using the latest technology and methods.

At OSF Saint Francis, you are treated with compassion and have comprehensive health services at your fingertips, from evaluation to surgery to recovery. That includes help navigating your financial needs and mental health care to help with any emotional impacts of such a big life change.


Having the opportunity to receive a pancreas transplant in Peoria helps provide those in Central Illinois with a convenient option rather than going to a larger city, such as Chicago.

Don't Rush Your Recovery

One important aspect of a pancreas transplant is the follow-up care needed. It can be very intense, and transplant can be hard work.

It is important to know that you may not return to a “normal lifestyle” right away. It requires time and patience, and it may be several months before you have a good understanding of how to manage your treatment.

Appointments & Medications

Compliance with treatment, medications, and follow-up is extremely important. You will be started on various new medicines that you will be required to take on a very specific schedule.

Follow-up appointments and timed blood tests will be required multiple days a week for several weeks after transplant.

Personal Support

It is imperative to have good personal support and transportation to help you get to and from frequent blood draws and appointments. There is potential for financial burdens after transplant as well.

Our Team is Here for You

At OSF Saint Francis, you are treated with compassion, and you have comprehensive health services at your fingertips, from evaluation to surgery to recovery.

After the transplant, our multi-disciplinary transplant team will continue to help with any needs you may have.

About the Surgery

How long will the transplant surgery take?

A kidney transplant operation can take between 2 and 5 hours.

A combined kidney and pancreas transplant operation can take between 4 and 7 hours.

How long will I be in the hospital after surgery?
A typical patient will recover in the hospital for 3-5 days. Should any complications arise, this stay will be extended at the advice of your surgeon.
Will I be in a lot of pain after the surgery?

A typical patient will have mild to moderate pain at the incision site.

Your pain will be controlled with a pain pump that you can control from the first 2-3 days after your surgery, you will then receive a pain pill (narcotic) to take the duration of your hospital stay.

You will be discharged home with a pain pill, you may need this pain pill for approximately 2 weeks, then it is advised to transition to Acetaminophen for discomfort.

Billing & Insurance

Will my insurance company pay for my transplant?

Most insurance carriers, including Medicare and Medicaid, pay for kidney transplants.

If Medicare is your primary insurer, your transplant must be at a Medicare-approved center. OSF Saint Francis Medical Center is a Medicare-approved center for an organ transplant.
Most transplant patients are eligible for Medicare if they suffer from end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and can apply at the transplant time.

The benefits are backdated to the first of the month the transplant was received. Medicare may be the primary insurer or secondary based on the “Coordination of Benefits” ruling.

If you would like additional information, you may download a copy of the official government booklet Medicare Coverage of Kidney Dialysis and Kidney Transplant Services.

How will I pay for my prescription and non-prescription medications?

This is one of the most important questions that you will need to answer before transplant.

If you cannot get your prescription medications after your transplant, your transplant will most likely fail.

If you have Medicare at the time of the transplant and Medicare is primary, your immunosuppressive drugs will be covered at 80% under Medicare B.

You will be responsible for the remaining 20% copay if you do not have a Medicare supplemental policy in effect. Even if you have a prescription plan, it may not cover your medications at 100%.

Out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications can be over $500 for the first few months post-transplant and continue from $200 to $500 for the transplant life.

Assistance may be available through pharmaceutical companies, Extra Help through Social Security LIS or several transplant-specific funding sources.

The financial coordinator and the social worker will discuss the options available to you in more detail when meeting with you.

What if my insurance changes?

If your insurance changes, you must notify the financial coordinator immediately. The transplant center will need to get approval from your insurance plan before your transplant.

If you change insurance and do not tell us, we may not get the required authorization. Without proper consent, the insurance company may deny payment for the transplant and all of your aftercare.

Are there any ‘hidden’ costs I should be aware of?

There are some ‘hidden’ costs that you need to be aware of. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Transportation to and from the transplant center before and after the transplant
  • Food and lodging for you and your family
  • Lost wages
  • Childcare

Reminder: Medicare coverage, based on end-stage renal disease, ends three years post-transplant.


How long will I be off work?
A typical patient should plan to be off work for 6 to 8 weeks after transplant.
When can I drive?
A typical patient may resume driving 3 weeks after transplant, depending on several factors.
How often will I need to come to Peoria for follow up after the transplant

A typical patient is expected to get transplant standing labs twice a week at OSF Saint Francis outpatient lab in Peoria for 4-8 weeks, or until your lab work is “stable”.

You will be seen in the OSF Transplant office 1-2 times a week by the transplant physician or post-transplant coordinator, for up to 4-8 week.

Will I be on a restricted diet?

A typical patient is not on any dietary restrictions after transplant. Unless you are diabetic, then follow all guidelines related to diabetes.

You will be advised to maintain a healthy, balanced diet daily. This will include ingesting salt and sugar in moderation.

You will be advised to drink 64-80 ounces of water a day. Staying well hydrated and eating healthy will be important.

How many new medications will I be taking?

A typical patient will be starting out with 7-9 new medications.

3-5 of those new medications will be discontinued after 3-6 months and 4 of those will remain for the life of your function organ(s).

There is a possibility that some medications you currently take, will not be continued after transplant.

What will happen if my kidney transplant fails?
If they kidney ever fails, you can have dialysis or consider another kidney transplant.