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Islets. 2012 Sep-Oct;4(5):339-42. doi: 10.4161/isl.22384. Epub 2012 Sep 1.

Intraoperative ultrasound examination is useful for monitoring transplanted islets: a case report.

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Division of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan.


A 39-y-old man, who had an episode of pancreatic bleeding due to chronic pancreatitis, received total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplantation (TP with IAT). Intraoperative ultrasound (US) examination was done to detect transplanted islets and evaluate the quality of US imaging. Islet isolation from the resected total pancreas was performed and approximately 230,000 islet equivalents (IEQ) (the tissue volume was 600 µL and the purity was 30%) were acquired. A double lumen catheter, used for transplantation and for monitoring the portal vein pressure, was inserted into the portal vein via the superior mesenteric vein, and the tip of the catheter was positioned at the bifurcation of the anterior and posterior branch of the portal vein to selectively infuse the islets into the right lobe of the liver in order to prevent total liver embolization. Intraoperative US examination (central frequency 7.5 MHz, Nemio™ XG, Toshiba Medical System Co.) was started at the same time as the transplantation. US examination revealed the transplanted islets as hyperechoic clusters that flowed from the tip of the catheter to the periphery of the portal vein. There were no findings of portal thrombosis or bleeding in the US image, and also no increase of the portal vein pressure during transplantation. In conclusion, we succeeded in visualizing human islets using US, which enabled us to perform islet transplantation safely. The hyperechoic images were considered to be viable islets. Intraoperative US examination can be useful for detecting islets at transplantation in a clinical setting.

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