This medical video will look into the different aspects of pain relief for pancreatitis.
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Jennifer Matthews: Standing in line for cafeteria food is a relief for Doris Holzman. Doris Holzman: It just got worse and worse and then two-and-a-half years ago, three years ago, they had to put a feeding tube in my stomach. Jennifer Matthews: It is pancreatitis. Doris Holzman: I couldn't go out to dinner with my husband. I could not sit down and have dinner with my family on holidays. Jennifer Matthews: When the pancreas is inflamed, patients are unable to digest food without severe pain. Surgeon David Leeser says chronic cases are the most frustrating. Dr. David Leeser: There is really not much that physicians have to offer them. Jennifer Matthews: Now, doctors at the University of Maryland are removing the pancreas of some patients, an organ that's not easy to live without. Dr. David Leeser: It could be removed, but when you did remove the entire pancreas you knew you were going to get bad diabetes. Jennifer Matthews: To stop diabetes from developing, surgeons transplant a patient's own islet cells into the liver. There, they can thrive and produce insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. Dr. David Leeser: About 90 percent or more of the patients, we can relieve their pain or significantly decrease their pain. Jennifer Matthews: And there's 50 to 75 percent chance they'll never need insulin. Doris had her pancreas removed. Her pain is gone and she does not need insulin. Doris Holzman: I prayed and prayed for an answer for a long time. It is the answer to my prayers and I really think they saved my life. Jennifer Matthews: Now, she's thankful for even the simplest moments. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.