A report published in the September 1995 issue of Annals of Surgery indicates that gastric bypass surgery can be an effective treatment for diabetes.
Unfortunately, gastric bypass is a serious procedure. In the past fourteen years, 608 morbidly obese patients participated in a study at East Carolina University in North Carolina. Gastric bypass reduces caloric intake by diminishing the capacity of the stomach and delaying gastric emptying. Many of the patients were seriously ill to begin with-1.5% of them died around the time of the surgery and 8.5% experienced complications. However, those that followed through experienced a marked reduction in body weight.
“Weights fell from a pre-operative mean of 304 pounds (range 198 to 615 pounds) to 192 pounds by one year and were maintained at 205 pounds at five years, 206 pounds at ten years, and 204 pounds at 14 years.”
Among these patients, 82.9% with type 2 diabetes and 98.7% of those with glucose impairment maintained normal glycosylated hemoglobin, plasma glucose, and insulin.
“These antidiabetic effects appear to be due primarily to a reduction in caloric intake, suggesting that insulin resistance is a secondary protective effect rather than the initial lesion.”
The surgery also improved other complications of obesity, including sleep apnea, hypertension, arthritis, infertility, and cardiopulmonary failure.
According to the report, “Gastric bypass is now established as an effective and safe therapy for morbid obesity and its associated health problems. No other therapy has produced such durable and complete control of diabetes mellitus.”