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Surgery Superior for Obese Diabetic Patients, Studies Say

Jeremy Korman';

By Jeremy Korman

Posted on April 7th, 2012 in Weight Loss

There has long been strong clinical evidence that diabetic patients who are significantly obese could improve their diabetes by losing weight. Now, two separate studies have been published in a leading medical journal confirming that bariatric surgery is very effective in diabetes treatment among the obese, and advocating expanded access to this treatment.

The New England Journal of Medicine has published two clinical trials# about weight loss surgery. In these articles, the researchers state that bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for type 2 diabetes in people who are obese, especially the morbidly obese. In such patients, surgery is even more effective than standard medical treatment in reducing the symptoms of diabetes— even before much weight has been lost.

At the Cleveland Clinic, Philip Schauer, M.D., and colleagues found that bariatric surgery caused a rate of remission of about 40 percent in patients with body-mass indices (BMIs) between 27 and 43. That compares to 12 percent for patients who received state-of-the-art drug treatment.

Geltrude Mingrone, M.D., and colleagues at Catholic University of Rome (Italy) and New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical center, found even more dramatic results for patients with BMI higher than 35: a remission rate of about 85 percent with bariatric surgery, but a rate of zero with drug treatment. The patients in the Mingrone study who received bariatric surgery nearly all experienced remission of diabetes, while none of the patients who received traditional diabetes treatment did.

What’s more, the diabetes remission appeared to occur independently of weight loss. It is unknown why this happened, but it appears that bariatric surgery causes diabetes remission by a different mechanism than weight loss, rather than the weight loss causing the diabetes to resolve. This is an interesting development that will doubtless lead to further research and insights.

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We are delighted that such a breakthrough has been made in understanding diabetes treatment. We want to help all of our current, future, and potential patients improve their health and live fulfilling lives free of disease. If you or a loved one are suffering from diabetes, or if you have any other questions related to weight loss surgery, please give us a call today at 310.577.5540.

The studies cited are:

Schauer PR, Kashyap SR, Wolski K, et al. Bariatric surgery versus intensive medical therapy in obese patients with diabetes. N Engl J Med 2012. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200225

Mingrone G, Panunzi S, De Gaetano A, et al. Bariatric surgery versus conventional medical therapy for type 2 diabetes. N Engl J Med 2012. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200111