The statements from august medical authorities were grand and sweeping. This was important news, they said. This would change everything. Pay attention, patients, they said. The experts have spoken, and their word should be taken as final.
Bariatric surgery, which alters or blocks portions of the digestive system, has produced long-term remission of diabetes symptoms in many type 2 patients. However, a small study of obese type 2 patients who underwent bariatric surgery shows that the longer they had diabetes, the greater the chances that their disease recurred after surgery. The retrospective study, conducted by Yessica Ramos, MD, at the Mayo Clinic Arizona, found that patients who had had diabetes for five years or longer were nearly four times as likely to experience a recurrence of the disease after the remission brought on by the surgery.
In two recent head-to-head year-long trials, one testing gastric bypass surgery versus lap band surgery and another pitting gastric bypass surgery against sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass came out ahead with regard to resolving the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Both studies were published in the February issue of the Archives of Surgery.
In order to undergo gastric bypass surgery, you must have a BMI of at least 35. If you have type 2 diabetes and would like to undergo the surgery to alleviate your diabetes symptoms, you are out of luck unless you are also morbidly obese. A few less weighty type 2 patients have taken matters into their own hands by deliberately gaining enough weight to qualify, but now there is a less drastic way to qualify for the operation.
A controversial New York doctor is poised to begin surgical trials on non-obese diabetes patients in an attempt to reverse their disease with gastric bypass surgery. Dr. Francesco Rubino, the chief of gastrointestinal surgery at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, believes that because gastric surgery has been shown to be highly effective in remitting diabetes symptoms, the procedure should now be allowed among non-overweight type 2s.
A recent and contentious meeting of diabetes experts at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Vienna, Austria, has continued the intense international debate over whether bariatric surgery should become a treatment for type 2 diabetes or continue to be reserved only for the extremely obese.
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