Research has showed that weight loss surgery may eliminate type-2 diabetes in patients, and a new study discovers that the surgery may be long term. According to the diabetes, bariatric surgery is more effective than standard treatment for the short-term control of type-2 diabetes.
“This is a very important study because it’s the first randomized trial comparing diabetes to medical treatment of diabetes with five years of follow-up,” said Dr. Philip Schauer, who directs the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.
The study led by Dr. Francesco Rubino of King’s College London tracked 5-year outcomes of 60 obese patients who had type 2 diabetes. The patients were chosen at random to undergo either one of two weight loss surgery, or continue with traditional drug therapy to help manage their diabetes.
The results discovered that 50% of the 38 weight-loss surgery patients kept diabetes from reoccurring, compared to none of the 15 patients who were in the drug treatment group. It seems that bariatric surgery is a much better choice for fat loss and disease control than treatment programs in this case.
The researchers added that patients who had surgery also had lower blood sugar levels than those treated with drugs, despite of whether their diabetes went into full remission. “What really is causing the remission of diabetes after surgery remains unknown,” Dr. Rubino said. What is known, he added, is that the intestines produce a host of hormones involved in regulating metabolism. Reconstructing the gastrointestinal tract so that food bypasses the stomach and small intestine may help restore normal metabolic control, he explained.
Gastric bypass or biliopancreatic diversion was the only methods of weight loss surgery that was used during the trial and they both had their weaknesses. Patients who got gastric bypass had lesser nutritional side effects with a better quality of life overall while more people witnessed their diabetes go into remission with biliopancreatic diversion. With that being said, gastric bypass is probably the better choice for fighting type-2 diabetes.
Although this was a small trial, it seems that surgery is quite stable in the long run, at least for five years. The procedure seems to be safe with fairly low complication rates. The downside is that any weight loss surgery can be expensive and comes with risks. Insurance companies do not seem to favor covering costs for weight loss surgery and rather save money with medications. With this study, I believe insurance companies may reconsider and pay for more patients to have weight loss surgery to fight type-2 diabetes.
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Source: Mingrone, Geltrude et al.” Bariatric–metabolic surgery versus conventional medical treatment in obese patients with type 2 diabetes: 5 year follow-up of an open-label, single-centre, randomised controlled trial” The Lancet, Volume 386 , Issue 9997 , 964 – 973 August 2015