New Findings Against Gastric Bypass Surgery

by Mark Benson on January 6, 2012

Surgery not diabetes cure-all

A new study published in the British Journal of Surgery declares that weight loss surgery is not the cure for Type 2 diabetes but is an effective tool in blood sugar management. Despite claims that nearly 80 percent of those diabetics that underwent gastric bypass surgery were cured of this condition, the research done at the Imperial College of London found that only 41 percent had their diabetes in remission after a stricter study of the outcomes of the surgery.

The research was made possible through funding from the Biomedical Research Center of the National Institute for Health Research bestowed on the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the Imperial College of London.

One of the major risk factors for Type 2 diabetes is obesity. Overall nearly 80 percent of individuals suffering from Type 2 diabetes are either overweight or obese worldwide. The condition is treated through insulin injections and other drugs to keep blood sugar levels done. Many diabetics though who underwent gastric bypass surgery for weight loss purposes discovered that their diabetes condition improved even before actual weight loss occurred.

In a recent conference, the American Diabetes Association brought experts together to find a common standard to assess diabetes remission in patients. The panel defined remission as the return to normal levels of glucose metabolism without need for diabetes drugs a year after undergoing surgery.

The new study thus reviewed previous data on 209 students who suffered from Type 2 diabetes in order to evaluate the efficacy of the three kinds of gastric bypass surgery under the new standards. The panel found that the rate of remission was only forty one percent for gastric bypass, the most effective kind of surgery.

According to Dr. Carel le Roux of the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, the study lead said, “Using the new criteria, we don’t get such eye-catching figures as some that have been quoted in recent years. But it’s clear that weight loss surgery, particularly gastric bypass, has a significant beneficial effect on glucose control.“

He adds, “Diabetes is a chronic, multisystem disease. Stomach surgery may not mean that patients can stop taking diabetes medication, but surgery and medication together achieve better results than either treatment on its own.”

The surgery called gastric bypass would be stapling the stomach to create a small pouch at the top that is connected to the small intestine directly. This bypasses the stomach and the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. The other kind of surgery is sleeve gastrectomy, where part of the stomach is removed and the third kind is gastric binding, where a band is placed around part of the stomach. The last two kinds of surgery had remission rates at 26 percent and 7 percent respectively and with smaller patient numbers undergoing the particular kind of surgery.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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