Obesity Surgery for Diabetes: A Cure?

February 28, 2008

It is known that obesity links patients to chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  These conditions then increase one’s risk to suffer from stroke and heart attack.  Ideally therefore, if only we can make all patients lose weight, then the burden of these chronic conditions from developing can be dramatically reduced.  Unfortunately telling patients to be careful with what they eat and to be physically active can be a daunting task.

What about obesity surgery?  Is it an effective way to lose weight? 

Gastric Banding is indeed one shortcut way of losing weight.  Our center has been active in handling patients wanting to lose weight using this less invasive procedure BUT will it’s weight loss translate to better health?  IT DOES… concludes a recent study published in JAMA which is an Unblinded randomized controlled trial conducted from December 2002 through December 2006 at the University Obesity Research Center in Australia

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Of the 60 patients enrolled, 55 (92%) completed the 2-year follow-up.

  • Remission of type 2 diabetes was achieved by 22 (73%) in the surgical group and 4 (13%) in the conventional-therapy group.
  • Relative risk of remission for the surgical group was 5.5.
  • Surgical and conventional-therapy groups lost a mean (SD) of 20.7% (8.6%) and 1.7% (5.2%) of weight, respectively, at 2 years 
  • Remission of type 2 diabetes was related to weight loss and lower baseline HbA1c levels
  • There were no serious complications in either group.

Conclusions:

Participants randomized to surgical therapy were more likely to achieve remission of type 2 diabetes through greater weight loss. These results need to be confirmed in a larger, more diverse population and have long-term efficacy assessed.

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The procedure used in the study was the less invasive laparoscopic gastric band where a band is surgically placed on top of the stomach. An access port is then secured closer to the skin where a saline solution can be injected into to fill up the circular inflation membrane, making the band tighter.  As a result it constricts the stomach opening, and reduces the amount of space inside, giving the patient an earlier feeling of fullness, limiting food consumption.

Finally, this study confirms that indeed weight loss is the key to better control… either achieved by proper diet and physical activity or through surgery. 

Weight Loss For Cure and Health!

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