New simple operation offers potential cure for type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on June 28, 2017

A new simple procedure involving inserting a plastic lining into the stomach of people with type 2 diabetes could cure the condition or at the very least make it easier to manage, new research suggests.

Trials of the operation at three hospitals in the UK have been very positive so far with doctors saying that it potentially offers a simple option for the millions of people in the country with type 2 diabetes.


Under the procedure, which has been described as ground breaking, a plastic liner called an Endo Barrier, is inserted into the stomach to stop the walls of the upper gut coming into contact with food and it blocks key hormones entering the blood.

The flexible plastic stomach sleeves were developed to mimic the effects of a gastric bypass without major surgery and have been approved for clinical use in Europe and South America.

It is being used on patients at King’s College Hospital in London, University College Hospital in London and City Hospital in Birmingham who have had type 2 diabetes for 12 years on average and failed to respond to more usual treatments such as diet and medication to control their diabetes.

Professor Francesco Rubino, who is leading the research at King’s College Hospital in London, explained that in many cases blood sugar levels go back to normal within days.

‘About 50% of patients are diabetes free after these procedures. The remaining people demonstrate big improvements of blood sugar control and can drastically reduce their dependence on insulin or other medication,’ he said.

After a year researchers found 25 people given the sleeve had lost nearly 2.5 stone each, reduced their blood pressure considerably and seen better control of blood glucose levels. Six no longer needed insulin injections.

One of the patients was a nurse Andrea Midmer, 59, who weighed 20 stone and was using insulin injections to control her diabetes. ‘The effect was immediate. I stopped feeling hungry, I ate much smaller meals and I lost 4.5 stone’ she said.

Simon O’Neill of Diabetes UK believes surgery like this should be fully recognised as an active treatment option for type 2 diabetes alongside established forms of treatments, such as lifestyle changes, and blood glucose lowering medications.

‘There is a wide body of evidence that shows surgery is an effective treatment option and can be cost effective for the NHS. However, many people who stand to benefit from this potentially lifesaving treatment are missing out due to needless barriers to obesity surgery services,’ he pointed out.

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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