Specialty Services at the UPMC Pancreas Center of Excellence

The experts at UPMC’s Pancreas Center of Excellence are known internationally for their leading-edge treatment methods and research that is advancing the field of pancreatic care.

Here are a few of the specialty services that distinguish UPMC from other centers.

Total Pancreatectomy and Auto-Islet Transplantation

We are one of the few digestive disorders centers in the United States that performs total pancreatectomy and auto-islet transplantation, a highly specialized technique that involves total removal of the pancreas.

It can be used when a patient has failed to respond to all other treatment options for chronic pancreatitis, and has been shown to provide pain relief in 85 percent of cases.

Laparoscopic Surgery for Treatment of Pancreatic Diseases

Our doctors were among the first to develop methods for laparoscopic surgery on the delicate tissues of the pancreas.

We offer pancreatic surgery using the da Vinci® Surgical System, a surgical tool also used to provide minimally invasive surgery for other types of diseases.

Expertise in Treating Pancreatic Diabetes (Type 3c Diabetes Mellitus)

People who suffer from chronic pancreatitis are at an increased risk for pancreatic diabetes, a disease that is often confused with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

As a result of frequent misdiagnosis, type 3c diabetes is often mistreated, which can lead to serious complications.

Our research has created new guidelines for diagnosing and treating this disease.

Coordinated Care for “Overlap” Diseases and Cystic Fibrosis

In some cases, pancreatitis can overlap with other GI diseases such as liver disease or inflammatory bowel disease.

We work closely with experts in other digestive disorder specialties to provide coordinated care for these patients.

Our doctors also work closely with specialists in cystic fibrosis, a disease that causes mucus to become thick and sticky. This mucus builds up in the lungs and causes chronic lung infections, but it also blocks the ducts in the pancreas that release digestive enzymes into the small intestine.

Behavioral Health Consultations for People With Pancreatic Diseases

For people living with pancreatitis or other chronic digestive disorders, it can be difficult to cope with the impact the disease has on their quality of life.

UPMC designed our Visceral Inflammation and Pain (VIP) Center to treat the psychological impact of pancreatic disease with:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Medication

Our VIP doctors also help treat the chronic pain that can accompany pancreatic diseases.

Groundbreaking Research to Advance the Field

Our doctors at the UPMC Pancreas Center of Excellence are active in a wide variety of studies to make it easier to diagnose and treat pancreatic diseases.

Recent research has focused on:

  • The role of nutrition in prevention and treatment of acute pancreatitis
  • The relationship between fat metabolism and severe pancreatitis
  • Genetic influences in pancreatic disease

As a result of our research, we're able to generate profiles of our patients to identify the genetic causes of pancreatic diseases.

Our experts have been called upon to present their findings to other physicians at conferences around the world.

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