Outcomes after pancreas retransplantation: is the juice worth the squeeze?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Pancreas retransplantations are rarely carried out, and their outcomes are still debatable because of a lack of studies and clinical series on this issue.

Recent findings

In general, pancreas retransplantations achieve similar or even higher patient survival than primary transplantations; however, it should be noted that this finding may be biased, as only healthier patients are selected for retransplantation. Graft survival in retransplantations is usually lower than that in primary transplantation, but this comparison may also be biased, as most retransplantations are solitary pancreas transplantations (which are known to have lower graft survival), whereas primary transplantations are mostly simultaneous kidney–pancreas transplantations. Technical loss is similar between primary pancreas transplantations and pancreas retransplantations, but the occurrence of surgical complications is greater in the latter.

Summary

This review summarizes the literature on pancreas retransplantations, comparing them with primary transplantations, and demonstrates that in selected patients in experienced centres, retransplantation can be a valid and effective option for returning the patient to an insulin-free state.

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