by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Surgery may be done to treat diabetes when other methods do not help. It may be needed for other problems diabetes can cause. The doctor may advise:


A healthy donor pancreas can be transplanted into the body. The new organ will make insulin. A person will no longer need to inject it.

Kidney damage is a common problem in people with diabetes. For some it can lead to diabetic kidney failure. A kidney transplant may be needed to treat it.

Islet Cell Transplant

Islets are the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. This procedure takes healthy islet cells from a donor and injects them into a vein. The cells will make insulin. It will need to be done more than once. It can help a person manage their blood glucose. They may even be able to stop insulin injections.

Islet Cells
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American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes—2019. Diabetes Care, 2019; 42 (Suppl 1): S1-193.

Diabetes mellitus type 1. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed May 5, 2022.

Type 1 diabetes. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: Accessed May 5, 2022.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
  • Review Date: 03/2022
  • Update Date: 05/05/2022