Diabetes is Costly – How Much Patients Pay

diabetes lap bandType 2 diabetes, which is closely tied with obesity, is a costly disease. Diabetes patients spend an average of $6,000 annually on costs for treating their disease, according to a recent survey conducted by Consumer Reports Health. The cost includes doctor visits, monitoring supplies, medicines, annual eye exams and other routine expenses. This figure, large as it is, does not  include the costs of medical complications that often result from diabetes, like liver, kidney or eye damage,  heart disease, strokes, and infections. And according to a new study, the cost of managing diabetes is increasing.

The study found that in 2000, patients paid median out-of-pocket costs of $19 per prescription, which jumped to $36 in 2010. The chief reason  for the cost increase,  according to the researchers, is that patients with diabetes stopped using human synthetic insulin (usage dropped from 96% to 15%) and switched to more expensive short and long-acting analogs such as glargine, detemir, and aspart (increased from 19% to 92%). These drugs have increased in popularity for various reasons—some have gained popularity for their flexibility in dosing and convenience, and some have gained popularity because they are believed to work better overnight, reducing what’s called ‘nocturnal hypogylecemia’. Marketing efforts for these drugs have proven to be highly effective. However, both of these types of drugs are more expensive than the old diabetes stable, human synthetic insulin, while results are mixed in terms of their increased benefit.  So although we’ve seen a substantial cost increase in treating diabetes,we have not seen a substantial improvement in the health of those patients.

There is one treatment we do know that is beneficial in many cases: Most people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Growing evidence is showing that bariatric surgery is substantially more effective at treating diabetes than standard medical therapy (which is usually medication and counseling). Many of our bariatric surgery patients who have diabetes no longer need medication after surgery, and many experience remission. If you struggle with diabetes, research has shown that the earlier you get treated the better the results may be. You can learn more about bariatric surgery as a treatment for diabetes by calling our office at 866-214-4441 or registering to attend one of our free upcoming seminars.

Lap Band: It Fits

Have you seen the new “It Fits’ video? It features people finding those small moments in their day when something new – or old – fits after they’ve lost weight with bariatric surgery. Often we hear that it IS those seeming small moments, that mean so much. Sliding on your wedding right that’s been too tight for years, putting on an old pair of jeans, taking a flight without needing a seat belt extender, or getting a hug from a child and having their arms fit all the way around you.

Our Patients: Meet Buz and Lauren

Occasionally our patients make the decision to have bariatric surgery as a couple. Meet Buz and Lauren.

They came to Chattanooga Bariatrics in 2001.


Each had bariatric surgery, and here they are after losing a total of 320 pounds!


Congratulations to a beautiful couple, on their success and determination together. Would you like to meet some more of our patients? Here is Mallory’s story and Susan’s story.


New Study Results: Promising for Those with Type 2 Diabetes

The findings of a study from the Cleveland Clinic show promising long-term results for weight loss surgery patients with type 2 diabetes:  three years after having gastric sleeve or gastric bypass procedures, most patients maintained control of the disease and were no longer dependent on diabetes medication. Ninety to ninety-five percent of the patients who had bariatric surgery no longer needed to take insulin and many no longer needed their oral medication.

The study’s name is the STAMPEDE trial (Surgical Treatment And Medications Potentially Eradicate Diabetes Efficiently) and is the largest randomized trial of its type. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. STAMPEDE was made up of 150 patients with diabetes; fifty received gastric sleeve, 50 received gastric bypass and 50 took medicine and received intensive counseling. Thirty-five percent of the surgery patients maintained remission of diabetes or much improved blood sugar control three years after their procedure. None of the medicine-only patients achieved remission and their blood sugar control was much poorer. Read more

Our Patients: Meet Tyler

Meet Tyler.

Here he is before he had bariatric surgery with us in 2011.


He had lap band (adjustable gastric band) surgery in September of 2011.

Here is Tyler, after losing 153 pounds!



Great job Tyler – we’re so proud of your hard work and success.

Want to meet another patient? Here is Mallory’s story and Susan’s story.

Lap Band for Lower BMI Patients: New Study

low bmi bandMuch research has been done on the positive association between bariatric surgery and improvement or remission of diabetes. While the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass are very effective treatments, these procedures are generally reserved for obese patients only. However, there has been some research on the potential for the gastric band to be used on people who have less weight to lose. Now a new study has shown that gastric band surgery (commonly referred to as the Lap-Band) can help treat type 2 diabetes in people who are overweight but not classified as obese. Researchers from the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Monash University studied 50 overweight people with type 2 diabetes. They were randomly assigned either standard medical therapy, or gastric banding with the medical therapy. Two years into the trial, more than half of the banded group were in remission of their diabetes, while only eight percent of the standard medical therapy group was in remission.

The connection between excessive body weight and diabetes is well known, but while the benefits of weight loss for obese people suffering with diabetes have been well-documented, it has not been clear if those who were overweight – but not obese – would experience the same benefits. Currently, gastric banding is approved for patients with a BMI of 35 or greater, or 30 or greater for patients with an obesity-related health condition, like diabetes. This first-of-its kind study adds evidence to the benefits of surgery extending to people with diabetes who have a lesser amount of weight to lose.

At Chattanooga Bariatrics, we see first-hand how bariatric surgery options like the gastric sleeve and the gastric band can be highly effective tools for obese patients with diabetes. We are pleased to see research showing that the benefits may be extended to the overweight population as well.

You can learn more about gastric banding surgery here, and more about the gastric sleeve here.

Large Study Shows Long Term Success of 3 Bariatric Procedures

If over 160,000 bariatric surgery cases were reviewed, what would the results show? Researchers answered that question with a new study they published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) last week. They analyzed data from many different studies to look at success rates in terms of weight lost, safety, and comparison of different procedures. The results showed what many obesity professionals have been seeing for years.

According to the report, all 3 primary bariatric procedures – the Lap Band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass – “led to substantial and durable weight loss with a low mortality risk.”  Overall, the gastric sleeve was found to have the strongest combination of safety and weight loss results. As seen previously, Lap Band (gastric band) patients have somewhat lower average weight loss than patients’ having other procedures, although band patients still showed significant and lasting results. Additionally, the band was the safest procedure with the lowest rates of complications.

An article in MedPage Today which covered the findings highlighted that, “bariatric surgery, overall, appears to be a very effective treatment for severe obesity, and it is a safe treatment in terms of mortality rate and complication rate.” In addition to weight loss, many of the patients in the study showed substantial improvement in health conditions. Patients with Type 2 Diabetes had remission rates of 86 – 92% depending on the type of study; patients with hypertension had remission rates of 75%; and patients with sleep apnea showed remission rates of around 90%.   At Chattanooga Bariatrics we are pleased to see a study of this magnitude reinforce the safety and efficacy of a variety of metabolic and bariatric surgeries.

We offer all the procedures and believe it’s important for patients and their surgeons to have the opportunity to work together to decide on a treatment plan that is best for that individual. We are happy to answer any questions you have, and can be contacted at 423-899-1000.

Our Patients: Meet Phil

Meet Phil.

In August 2013 he weighed 389 lbs. They called him Philly G…..


Exactly 6 months after the LapBand they now call him SKINNY G!

Congratulations Phil on losing 137lb in just 6 months!


All of us at Chattanooga Bariatrics are so proud of Phil’s hard work and accomplishments.


Want to meet another patient? Here are Mallory’s story and Susan’s story.

Weight Loss Surgery: Not a Last Resort

chattbar_lastresortWeight loss surgery procedures have evolved over the past two decades, and are safe and effective treatments for obesity. Not only does weight loss surgery (or “bariatric surgery”) help induce weight loss, but also improves metabolic conditions. Many patients with diabetes who undergo surgery, such as the gastric sleeve or Lap-Band, experience improvement in their condition, and even remission. Although there are risks involved with weight loss surgery–just as any other surgery–the alternatives, such as anti-obesity and anti-diabetic drugs, have adverse affects and in the case of weight loss drugs, are generally not successful in weight loss more than 5-10%.

Why then, is weight loss surgery overwhelmingly viewed as a “last resort” option? Read more

Questionable Weight Loss Companies Charged with Fraud

You’ve probably seen lots of ads for weight loss products that seem too good to be true. There was a popular one over the last few years from Sensa, for a powder you could sprinkle on your food. It aired on the Home Shopping Network, and several other tv networks. The ads said you could “sprinkle, eat, and lose weight.” You may have also seen the ads for LeanSpa which has acai berry and colon cleansing supplements. These products sound great – and acai berry is often referred to as a ‘super food’ – so people around the country spent hundreds of millions of dollars on these products. Unfortunately, “too good to be true” is almost always “not true”. These companies used false advertising and made medical claims with no evidence. Read more