Total Pancreatectomy and Auto Islet Transplantation

One of the most painful conditions, chronic pancreatitis, can be eliminated by a surgical procedure called total pancreatectomy and islet auto transplantation (TPIAT). This specialized procedure can significantly reduce, or eliminate, the pain of pancreatitis, particularly when other medical and surgical treatment options have failed. The Comprehensive Transplant Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is the only location in central Ohio with the expertise to perform this procedure.

TPIAT is a two-part surgery. First, the pancreas (which is diseased and causing great pain for the patient) is removed in a procedure called a total pancreatectomy. Secondly, before the pancreas is discarded, the working islet cells are extracted from the pancreas and inserted back into the patient's liver. With the removal of the pancreas, the patient becomes a surgically-induced diabetic. However, because the islet cells placed in the liver can produce insulin, many patients live a normal life without insulin dependence. Also, since the patient’s own islets are used, there is no risk of rejection and no need for immunosuppression medications.

Patient Story - Terri (Mansfield, OH)

Describing her pain "like nothing you've ever had," Terri lost 50 pounds in 4 months due to pancreatitis. She explains her journey that brought her to Ohio State and TPIAT surgery that restored her quality of life.

About the Pancreas and TPIAT Surgery

Luis Lara, MD, Medical Director for Ohio State's Total Pancreatectomy and Islet Transplantation program explains Ohio State’s specialized procedure and comprehensive approach to cure patients suffering from chronic pancreatitis.

Patient Story - Renee (Blacklick, OH)

Renee's pain from pancreatitis was so severe that she could not get out of bed. She explains how TPIAT surgery at Ohio State "saved her life."

TPIAT Surgery Process

Amer Rajab, MD, PhD and Director of Pancreas and Islet Transplantation at Ohio State explains the surgery for a total pancreatectomy and auto islet transplant.

Why choose Ohio State for your total pancreatectomy and islet auto transplant (TPIAT)?

The Comprehensive Transplant Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is one of the largest organ transplant programs in the nation. Over 10,000 organ transplantations have been performed here since 1967.

  • The only institution in central Ohio, and one of a small number in the nation, with an FDA-approved isolation laboratory for pancreatic auto islet transplantation, which ensures that the process is done to the highest standards.
  • A National Pancreas Foundation Center for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer since 2014. This designation recognizes premier health care facilities that focus on multidisciplinary treatment of the “whole” patient to enhance the best possible outcomes, improve quality of life and advance research.
  • Active member of the Collaborative Islet Transplant Registry (CITR) since 2008. Sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the mission of CITR is to expedite progress and promote safety in islet cell transplantation.

Commitment: Our multidisciplinary team works together to optimize patient outcomes. This includes gastroenterologists, transplant surgeons, endocrinologists, transplant psychologists, social workers and an extensive support team, each addressing individual factors that impact transplantation success. Always interested in the next breakthrough, our disease specialists also participate in clinical trials for pancreas disease and islet transplantation outcomes that are sponsored by the National Institute of Health.

Proven Success: Ohio State performed its first auto islet transplant in 2008, so we’ve gained the important insight and experience needed to successfully prepare, treat and support our patients before, during and after the surgery.


Auto Islet Transplant Candidates

Auto Islet Transplant Candidates

Auto Islet Transplant Candidates

  • Patients suffering from chronic pancreatitis and the incapacitating pain it can cause may benefit from auto islet transplantation, particularly when other treatment options, such as medical, endoscopic and other surgical interventions, have failed to provide relief and there is significant risk of developing diabetes with more interventions.
  • If identified as appropriate by your gastroenterologist, islet auto transplantation may also be a viable treatment option for some other pancreatic conditions. People with metastatic cancer, active infection or severe medical problems are generally not candidates for the procedure.
  • All patients must meet the chemical dependency requirements of the Ohio Solid Organ Transplantation Consortium. The use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs is carefully examined.
  • Patients who meet criteria for alcohol or drug dependence must undergo at least three months of rehabilitation and demonstrate three months of abstinence before transplantation. Patients with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure may need to stabilize their conditions before transplantation, and we will work across medical disciplines to support these improvements.

Patient Process

Auto Islet Transplant Process

Auto Islet Transplant Process

Because total pancreatectomy and auto islet transplantation involves removal of the pancreas, it is not considered a first line of treatment. However, it can prove extremely effective for selective candidates who can be identified through an extensive evaluation prior to transplant. To improve outcomes, Ohio State supports patient education and engagement before, during and after auto islet transplantation.

Treatment Team

Auto Islet Transplant Team

Auto Islet Transplant Team

Our Comprehensive Transplant Center treatment team includes:

Frequently Asked Questions

Auto Islet Transplant Frequently Asked Questions

Auto Islet Transplant Frequently Asked Questions

Our Providers

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