Your Guide To Weight Loss Surgery For Diabetes

African American couple happy overweightAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 29 million people living in the United States has diabetes. Over 90 percent of these individuals has type 2 diabetes which is closely associated with overweight and obesity. Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to increased risk for serious complications such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, vision impairment, kidney disease, and amputations. Moreover, type 2 diabetes reduces life expectancy by 12 to 14 years. Keeping blood glucose—also called blood sugar, under control can reduce your risk of developing diabetes-related complications.

Lifestyle intervention including weight-loss, diet, exercise; and diabetes medications are used to manage type 2 diabetes. However, when medicines and lifestyle changes are not enough to manage diabetes in obese individuals, bariatric surgery – also called metabolic surgery is a valid option. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery says surgery can improve type 2 diabetes in 90 percent of patients and cause remission (a state in which all signs and symptoms of diabetes are gone) of type 2 diabetes in 78 percent of them.

“Metabolic surgery is playing a more prominent role in diabetes management because of emerging data showing that surgery can be superior to medical therapy in controlling diabetes,” says Eduardo Grunvald, MD, Program Director, UC San Diego Weight Management Program, the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at UC San Diego Health.

In fact, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy—two types of bariatric surgery, were found to be better than medical therapy in helping people with type 2 diabetes significantly reduce and maintain glucose control and sustained weight loss. Bariatric surgery was also associated with a greater reduction of diabetes and heart disease medications, and improvement in quality of life compared to medical therapy.

The three types of metabolic surgery used most often for people with type 2 diabetes include laparoscopic adjustable gastric band, gastric sleeve surgery, also called sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass. Grunvald says there’s a fourth procedure – biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, but it’s used in only 2 percent of bariatric procedures.