Scottish hospital in revolutionary diabetes operation

by Mark Benson on June 8, 2013

Scottish hospital in revolutionary diabetes operation

Scottish hospital in revolutionary diabetes operation

The Spire Murrayfield Hospital in Edinburgh has received significant coverage in the UK press today with news of a potentially groundbreaking operation which could assist the fight against diabetes. A team of surgeons have been working to this end for some time now with a new product which has a similar effect to a gastric bypass without the invasive surgery and potential side effects.

It is well-known that obesity has a very close connection with diabetes type 2 and is indeed seen as a lifestyle condition. There have been a number of attempts to control obesity in the past although many of these, as we mentioned above, have involved invasive surgery which can have a whole host of complications.

What is this new procedure?

The new procedure which was carried out on a type II diabetic just yesterday involves fitting what is known as an EndoBarrier implant into the upper intestine. In simple terms the EndoBarrier implant is a thin plastic sleeve which is actually fitted orally thereby avoiding possible side-effects and complications. This very simple sleeve integrates with the body’s immune system and due to the material present in the sleeve it alters the activation of various hormonal signals which impact the pancreas and the creation of insulin.

Quote from DiabetesForum.com : “Health problems linked to obesity – like heart disease and diabetes – could skip an entire generation, a new study suggests.”

Doctors have described this as a means of allowing food to “slip through” the body without anything being absorbed into the bloodstream. The reduction of various elements being absorbed into the bloodstream impacts the effectiveness of the body’s immune system and insulin. The idea being that the food effectively flushes straight through the body and therefore does not add to any potential weight problems which exist.

The aim of the new treatment

The new treatment will hit the headlines as a form of obesity reduction but doctors have been working on this particular procedure with diabetes in mind. Any process which impacts the body’s use of insulin and an individual person’s weight could also throw up a number of positive side-effects for other issues in the long term.

At this moment in time the procedure is only available for private patients via the Spire Murrayfield Hospital although like so many groundbreaking medicines and procedures, it is hoped that someday it will be available on the NHS. Doctors will be monitoring the health of yesterday’s patient and hopefully we should receive positive updates further down the line.

Investment in diabetes treatment

While many new procedures and new treatments for diabetes will hit the headlines, the vast majority will never even reach human trials. This is the hidden cost of diabetes research which can in many cases prompt people to see the cost of medical treatment from a very different angle. The cost of treatment today not only incorporates individual procedures but it also incorporates the research and development cost of those which never make it to market.

As diabetes is set to become one of the greatest challenges to the human race in the years ahead, there is no doubt that any breakthrough today could have major positive implications going forward.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com 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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