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Is it true that weight-loss surgery can cure diabetes?
Steven Bock, MD
|Gastric bypass surgery can reverse or improve Type 2 diabetes in more than 80 percent to 90 percent of patients. These effects occur right after surgery, before any of the weight loss is seen.
Many patients can go home from the hospital with normal or near normal blood sugar levels. Their diabetes medications are totally eliminated or at least reduced. In patients who have had diabetes more than five to 10 years, complete reversal rates are lower. Most of these patients do see improved glucose control with less medication.
Significant weight loss also helps to continue to normalize blood sugar levels. The International Diabetes Federation has formally recommended that gastric bypass surgery be considered as appropriate treatment for people with Type 2 diabetes who have a BMI of 35 or more and have not been able to control their diabetes effectively and in selective patients with BMI between 30 and 35.
No. Those with a BMI of less than 35 see similar results, but insurance does not yet cover those patients. Weight-loss surgery for diabetes should be considered for people who are unable to lose weight with traditional methods. They should understand the risks of surgery and be willing to make lifestyle changes that will effectively use the tools of surgery.
Your primary care doctor or a surgeon that performs weight-loss surgery can evaluate your individual situation and explain the benefits and risks of weight-loss surgery.
Practice good diabetes management skills so you will be as healthy as possible with reasonable glucose control prior to surgery. Patients with blood sugar averages above 200 or Hgb A1c above 8.0 before surgery can have higher infection rates. Look for a surgical program that includes pre-weight loss counseling.
You will need to make lifestyle changes to lose weight and keep it off. You need to be closely supervised as you lose weight to help with medication and lifestyle related adjustments related to the reduction or reversal of your diabetes.
Surgery is a tool that, if used well, can give excellent short and long-term results. Choose a board-certified surgeon who has considerable experience performing weight loss surgeries. Look for a surgeon who uses minimally invasive procedures, which will shorten your recovery time and reduce the risk of complications.
To schedule an appointment with Steven Bock, MD, or for more information on weight-loss surgery, call (701) 323-5300.