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Rare surgery performed to remove pancreas, prevent diabetes

cobiliary Center. Eckhoff is director of the division of transplantation, and directs the University's islet cell transplant program, which uses pancreatic cells from brain-dead patients to cure insulin-dependent diabetics. Contreras is co-director of the islet transplant program. The patient was in intensive care at UAB Hospital for two days following the surgery, and will be in the hospital until sometime next week, doctors said.

Stewart's chronic pancreatitis developed four years ago as the result of a congenitally malformed pancreatic duct that closed down following removal of his gallbladder at a Louisiana hospital. Three prior operations and several procedures to place stents in the pancreatic duct failed to provide relief. The pain of chronic pancreatitis is known to be constant and extremely debilitating. Facing a life of suffering from the condition, Stewart chose the alternative of total removal of the pancreas and of autologous islet cell transplantation.

The procedure has been done previously; the first case was 16 years ago at the University of Minnesota, and the patient still survives. Only a few other cases were attempted, and results were not uniformly good, so the procedure fell out of favor until recently, when new advances in cadaveric islet cell transplantation made outcomes more favorable.


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Source:University of Alabama at Birmingham


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