Current Diabetes Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 326-331

First online:

Pediatric Islet Autotransplantation: Indication, Technique, and Outcome

  • Melena D. BellinAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, Schulze Diabetes Institute, University of Minnesota Email author 
  • , David E. R. SutherlandAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Schulze Diabetes Institute, University of Minnesota

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Chronic pancreatitis is a rare disease in childhood. However, when severe, a total pancreatectomy may be the only option to relieve pain and restore quality of life. An islet autotransplant performed at the time of pancreatectomy can prevent or minimize the postsurgical diabetes that would otherwise result from pancreatectomy alone. In this procedure, the resected pancreas is mechanically disrupted and enzymatically digested to separate the islets from the surrounding exocrine tissue, and the isolated islets are infused into the portal vein and engraft in the liver. Because patients are receiving their own tissue, no immunosuppression is required. Islet autotransplant is successful in two thirds of children—these patients are insulin independent or require little insulin to maintain euglycemia. Factors associated with a more successful outcome include a younger age at transplant (<13 years), more islets transplanted, and lack of prior surgical procedures on the pancreas (partial pancreatectomy or surgical drainage procedures).


Islet transplant Autotransplant Pancreatitis Chronic pancreatitis Hereditary pancreatitis Autoislet transplant Pancreatectomy Total pancreatectomy Islet