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The Evaluation Process

When you are referred for an islet cell transplant evaluation, you will initially be met by Dr. Timothy Gardner, the medical director of the islet cell program. Dr. Gardner will evaluate you and decide if islet cell transplant would be a beneficial treatment option for you. Part of his evaluation may include further testing, including laboratory testing, CT scans or endoscopy procedures.

If islet cell transplant is thought to be a possibility, you will be referred to the islet cell team for further evaluation. These appointments are usually scheduled within two days, back to back, although we make every effort to schedule them within one day.

You will be evaluated by Dr. Kerrington Smith, the surgical director of the program, who will decide if you are an appropriate candidate for the surgery. Dr. Sushela Chaidarun, an endocrinologist will evaluate you to determine the chance of developing diabetes after the surgery. You will also see Dr. Richard Ferrell, a psychiatrist and a pain specialist. Finally, you will meet with dietitian Catherine Giguere-Rich.

Following that evaluation, there is an islet cell multidisciplinary team meeting on the third Monday of every month to discuss the potential of surgery for our patients. The decision to proceed with surgery must be unanimous from all team members. Almost half of the patients who go through the evaluation process are determined not to be candidates for this complex surgery, although other options are discussed during that meeting to appropriately serve your medical needs.

If surgery is recommended, Kim Sainsbury, TPIAT Coordinator, will contact you to discuss a plan. You will be scheduled for clinic visits with team members prior to surgery, along with preadmission testing and possible CT scan. It usually takes 3-4 months from the time you are notified that you are a surgical candidate, until surgery is performed.

The TPIAT Coordinator will then complete or assist with any needs prior, during or after the surgery including:

  • Pre-certification with insurance company
  • If needed, assist with applying for insurance
  • Complete FMLA/disability paperwork
  • Work with your employer regarding time away
  • Return to work paperwork