Pediatric Total Pancreatectomy and Islet Auto-transplant

In 1977, University of Minnesota Physicians performed the first TP-IAT in the world. Since then, our surgeons have performed more than 600 procedures, with over 100 of them on children ages 3 to 18.
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Children with chronic, debilitating pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) regularly rely on us for pain relief. Although chronic pancreatitis is rare in children, we specialize in treating this devastating condition, which can disrupt a child's life. It can lead to chronic pain, loss of time in school and, sometimes, diabetes.

Some children have acute recurrent pancreatitis, which resolves for a while and then returns. When children have chronic pancreatitis, their pain never really goes away, and over time, they can develop such severe damage that diabetes can occur. If your child has acute recurrent or chronic pancreatitis and previous medical or endoscopic treatments have not relieved the pain, he or she may benefit from a total pancreatectomy and islet auto-transplant.

Our Approach

M Health Fairview has the world’s largest total pancreatectomy and islet auto-transplant (TP-IAT) program. During the procedure, the surgeon first removes the pancreas. Next, specially trained technicians break down the pancreas into its components and separate out the islets. This process is similar to the way a blood bank separates red blood cells from white blood cells for transfusions.

The islet team then returns the islets to the operating room, and the surgeon injects them into the patient's liver. If successful, the islet cells in the liver will produce insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal, supported with supplemental insulin injections if necessary. Since the islets are the patient's own cells, there is no risk that they will be rejected by the body.

Children in our program are in safe, experienced hands at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. In 1977, University of Minnesota Physicians performed the first TP-IAT in the world. Since then, our surgeons have performed more than 600 procedures, with over 100 of them on children ages 3 to 18. Children with severe pain from acute recurrent or chronic pancreatitis often experience resolution of pain and improved quality of life after TP-IAT.

The most important aspect of TP-IAT is pain relief. Nearly all children (95 percent) say that their pain is gone or diminished after the surgery. TP-IAT may also prevent diabetes in some children. The chance to relieve pain and prevent diabetes at the same time is an option that all patients with chronic pancreatitis should have.

Locations that offer this treatment

Call your preferred location to schedule an appointment or submit an online request.