Risky Procedure May Cure Type 2 Diabetes

A recent study shows that bypass surgery is highly effective for type 2 diabetic treatment.Researchers in England found that nearly ¾ of type 2 diabetes may be reversed by the surgical procedure. Gastric bypass was also effective in nearly 40 percent of those who had diabetes longer than 8 years.

The study, conducted by Dr. Sarah Steven of Newcastle University, included 73 patients with type 2 diabetes who also underwent a particular type of gastric bypass called the Roux-en-Y . The majority of the study subjects were female, and the median age was 49. The study followed the subjects for a minimum of 3 months and found that those that lost the most weight after the procedure had the greatest rate of diabetes reversal. Nearly three-quarters of those that lost more than 33 pounds had experienced a reversal of the disease and were able to stop all their medications. Half of those with minor weight loss (less than 22 pounds) experienced the same results. Dr. Steven said of the results:

"The reversal of type 2 diabetes seems to depend on the degree of weight loss. Individuals with long-term diabetes are likely to have gained more weight than those with short-term – this is in part due to the natural history of the disease and is compounded by the use of medications and insulin therapy. It’s hypothesized that these individuals may need to lose more weight to reach the target weight that will normalize their glucose levels."

Procedure not Without Risks

Gastric bypass surgery does not come without risks however. In the US, a man who received gastric surgery is now permanently physically and mentally disabled due to septic shock when the surgery left a hole that allowed stomach contents to leak into the abdominal cavity. The Hospital had previously received a “Bariatric Center of Excellence” award.

The Mayo Clinic lists the following short term risks with bariatric surgery:

  • Infection
  • Blood Clots
  • Excessive Bleeding
  • Lung and Breathing Problems
  • Adverse Reaction to Anesthesia
  • Leaks in the Gastrointestinal System
  • Death (listed as “rare”)

The long term risks include:

  • Dumping Syndrome
  • Hernias
  • Bowel Obstruction
  • Gallstones
  • Stomach Perforation
  • Ulcers
  • Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Malnutrition
  • Vomiting
  • Death (also listed as “rare”)

Diabetes itself is not without risks, both in short and long term. Further research may be necessary to better determine the risk/benefit ratio between the procedure and the disease.

Sources:
http://www.internalmedicinenews.com/news/diabetes-endocrinology-metaboli...
http://blogs.lawyers.com/2012/01/disabled-patient-wins-178-million-from-...
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gastric-bypass/my00825/dsection=risks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roux-en-Y_anastomosis
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, user Topnife, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Topnife). No endorsement is implied.

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