New studies published online by the New England Journal of Medicine show that bariatric surgery far out-performed medical treatment for diabetes in obese patients. Until now, only one randomized, controlled trial has shown the superiority of surgery using the Lap-Band over medical care for diabetes treatment. These two new randomized, controlled trials provide further evidence that surgery can be more efficient than either standard or intensive medical treatment alone. The first study, done by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, looked at 150 obese people with diabetes. Those people underwent one of two bariatric surgeries: sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass, or they received intensive medical treatment. After 1 year, a glycated hemoglobin level of 6% or less was achieved by 12% of patients in the medical treatment group versus 42% in the gastric bypass group and 37% in the sleeve gastrectomy group. Both the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are bariatric surgeries which greatly reduce the volume of the stomach. The sleeve gastrectomy is generally considered a less extreme procedure, because it does not interfere with the digestive process and carries less risk of malabsorption of nutrients.
The second study followed 60 obese patients with diabetes, who were assigned to either have bariatric surgery (gastric bypass or biliopancreatic diversion) or non-surgical medical treatment. Similarly to the Cleveland Clinic study, this study showed that the surgical procedures had much greater effects on diabetes. After two years, the patients who had surgery had better glycemic control than the patients who had medical therapy. Additionally, 75% of the gastric bypass patients and 95% of the biliopancreatic diversion patients showed complete remission of their diabetes. Conversely, none of the patients who had medical treatment had complete remission of their diabetes. You can read more about the studies here
To learn more about how bariatric surgery can improve diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and more, attend one of our free informational seminars. Or you can learn more about the sleeve gastrectomy here.