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Keywords:

  • outcome;
  • pancreas;
  • portal system;
  • transplantation;
  • venous drainage

Abstract

Advances in surgical techniques and clinical immunosuppression have led to improving results in vascularized pancreas transplantation. Most pancreas transplants are performed with enteric exocrine drainage and systemic venous delivery of insulin (systemic-enteric technique) although bladder drainage (systemic-bladder technique) remains a viable option. To improve the physiology of pancreas transplantation, an innovative technique of portal venous delivery of insulin and enteric drainage of the exocrine secretions (portal-enteric technique) was developed and refined over the past 27 yr. However, the potential of portal-enteric pancreas transplantation has never been fully realized as it is currently performed in only 18% of simultaneous pancreas-kidney/sequential pancreas after kidney and 10% of pancreas-alone transplants with enteric drainage. A number of studies have demonstrated no major or consistent differences in outcomes for bladder-drained or enteric-drained pancreas transplants with either portal or systemic venous drainage although some studies suggest purported metabolic and immunologic advantages associated with portal venous delivery of insulin. The purpose of this study is to review the existing literature on portal-enteric pancreas transplantation with an emphasis on surgical aspects and technical modifications/nuances that have been introduced with time and experience.