Weight Loss Surgery Treats Diabetes
Study Shows Gastric Banding Surgery More Effective Than Lifestyle-Modification Programs
Jan. 22, 2008 -- Weight loss surgery proved to
be a highly effective treatment for type 2 diabetes in a newly
published study, with almost three out of four surgically treated patients
showing no evidence of the disease two years later.
Patients who had gastric
banding surgery lost an average of 20% of their body weight within two
years. That compares with less than 2% during the same time period in patients
who had conventional therapy that focused on intensive lifestyle-modification
programs involving diet and physical activity. Many of the
patients were on diabetes medications.
The study included just 60 patients who had recently been diagnosed with
type 2 diabetes. But if larger investigations confirm the findings, weight loss surgery may prove to
be a cure for many people with diabetes, researcher John B. Dixon, MBBS, PhD,
of Melbourne, Australia's Monash University, tells WebMD.
The findings appear in tomorrow's issue of The Journal of the American
"I really do think that within a few years surgery will become a common
procedure for type 2 diabetes," Dixon says.
(Would you have weight
loss surgery to control your diabetes? Share your thoughts on WebMD's
Type 2 Diabetes Support Group board.)
Weight Loss Surgery and Diabetes
Gastric banding surgery reduces the size of the
stomach to help patients eat less.
banding surgery and gastric bypass surgery have
been shown to be effective for weight loss, but their impact on obesity-related diseases like
diabetes has only recently begun to be studied.
In the newly reported research, patients were randomly assigned to receive
either laparoscopic adjustable
gastric banding (also
referred to as lap banding) or conventional diabetes
treatment with a focus on lifestyle modifications though diet and
The patients had been diagnosed with diabetes no more than two years before
entering the study.
Fifty-five patients completed the study, and 26 (43%) achieved diabetes
remission at two years.
At the completion of the study, 22 of 30 (73%) surgically treated patients
showed no evidence of type 2 diabetes, compared with four of 30 (13%) patients
in the lifestyle-intervention group.
Surgically treated patients lost an average of 62% of their excess weight,
compared with an average loss of 4.3% in patients who did not have the
No serious complications occurred in either treatment group. Two of the
surgical patients required nonurgent surgical replacement of their bands.
'Surgery Not a Last Resort'
It is increasingly clear that early, intensive treatment is associated with
better outcomes among patients with type 2 diabetes.
Because of this, Dixon says weight loss surgery should no longer be
considered a last resort used only in patients who are very obese.
Weight loss surgery is generally not considered for people with body mass
indexes (BMI) of below 35, even if they have diabetes or other obesity-related