A small Italian study showed that a specific type of stomach reduction surgery, called laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, was better than drugs alone in controlling or reversing type 2 diabetes. 80% of the patients who had the procedure saw that their diabetes disappeared (remission) in 18 months. None of the patients who received drugs, saw their diabetes go into remission. In fact, for those patients who had the surgery, and who had diabetes for less than 10 years, saw a complete reversal.
Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, also known as a gastric sleeve, removes 85% of the patient’s stomach. Surgeons then shape the remaining tissue into a sleeve like tube. The patient is then able to only eat small portions, causing a reduction in caloric intake leading to weight loss.
A gastric sleeve procedure is generally reserved for the morbidly obese, those with a body mass index of 35 or higher. The body mass index normalizes a person’s weight to their height. It is a means to compare apples to apples when it comes to men and women, tall and short, etc.
In this study, the Italian team recruited 60 patients with diabetes, and a body mass index of over 35. Half got the procedure, while the other half got the drug. The surgery group’s body mass index dropped to 28 from 41 – a dramatic improvement. The medicine only group’s body mass index remained essentially the same, which was around 40. None of the medicine group reversed their diabetes, and the need for other medications such as those for high blood pressure and cholesterol increased. The surgery group saw their medicine need decrease.
Gastric sleeve procedures are expensive – $10,000 to $15,000. They do carry the risk of bleeding and other complications as well. If you are morbidly obese, you probably have tried to lose weight and failed multiple times. Before you opt for something as drastic as a sleeve procedure, you probably should give weight loss a final try. Talk to your doctor and see.
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