Two New Studies Find Surgery Tops Medicine for Diabetes

In case you missed it, these headlines were in the news recently:

The findings come as no surprise to the team of surgeons at the New York Bariatric Group, who has received many positive reports from their patients following bariatric surgeries.

A study by Australian physicians in 2008 found similar results when comparing bariatric weight-loss surgery with other forms of treatment.

However, the new studies are being called the first to rigorously compare medical treatment with surgery as a way to control diabetes.

“Diabetes is typically a progressive disease, but weight-loss surgery really does represent a realistic hope for a cure,” said Dr. Shawn Garber of the New York Bariatric Group. Dr. Garber has performed more than 2,500 laproscopic gastric bypass procedures, 2,000 lap band surgeries and 300 sleeve gastrectomies.

The two new studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Shawn Garber
Dr. Shawn Garber

One of the studies was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting in Chicago last month by a research team from the Cleveland Clinic and Harvard University. This study involved 50 patients who had a sleeve gastrectomy, 50 who underwent a Roux-en Y gastric bypass and 50 who received a treatment of medication, monitoring, diet and exercise.

The results: Diabetes remission rates one year after surgery were lower by 42 percent and 37 percent, while only 12 percent of the patients who did not have the surgery experienced remission.

The researchers said the surgeries help control diabetes not just because they help people lose weight, but the changes in anatomy also alter the levels of hormones that affect the metabolism of sugars and fats.

The other study was conducted by the Catholic University of Rome. It compared remission rates two years after surgery. In this study, for the two types of surgery, complete remission rates were 75 percent and 95 percent, while there were no complete remissions in patients receiving the medical treatment.

In both studies, the patients undergoing surgery also were more successful with sustaining their weight loss.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that can lead to strokes, heart disease, blindness, foot amputation, kidney failure and other issues that can reduce life expectancy. It is estimated that 20 million people in the United States have it, and the number is growing rapidly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of patients with diabetes in the United States has tripled in the last 30 years.

An editorial accompanying the two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine called Type 2 diabetes “one of the fastest growing epidemics in human history,” adding that while surgical weight-loss procedures were “not yet” a panacea for diabetes, the new research “suggests they should not be seen as a last resort.”

The American Diabetes Association and the National Institutes for Health list surgery as an option for obese patients seeking a cure for diabetes.

If you’re seriously considering weight-loss surgery, we invite you to make an appointment to see one of our surgeons by calling our office at (516) 616-5500 or, if you prefer, click on “Live Chat” in the upper left corner of your screen to have a conversation now.

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Two New Studies Find Surgery Tops Medicine for Diabetes


Lost 145lbs

Thomas' success story

I went in for surgery. An hour later, I came out a new man.

Everybody treated me like a king. The day of surgery, I was excited. The hospital couldn’t be any nicer. I went in for surgery. An hour later, I came out a new man. My recovery was awesome. I was out of bed that day. My wife and kids were my motivation on getting this surgery. They are my whole life. I’m happy I’m going to be around for them.

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Lost 76lbs

Nicole's success story

I hit my goal weight ... and I feel fabulous

I had the gastric bypass. I am Type 2 Diabetic and I wanted to gain control of my sugar. I hit my goal weight in about 5 and half months and I feel fabulous. The procedure has completely changed my life for the better because it has empowered me as a middle aged woman that I can really do everything and anything that I want to do. I don't put an age on anything. I don't say I'm too old for something.

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Lost 76lbs

Robert's success story

I was tired of the way I looked. I was tired of the way I felt.

I knew if I didn't change something soon, I was going to be in a lot of trouble. The consultation process was a lot easier than I expected. I was met with open arms. I was treated like I was the only patient here. Not only did they answer all of my questions, they had questions for me to make sure I was the right candidate for the surgery. After surgery and that weight started dropping off, my life started changing for the better.

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Lost 92lbs

Samantha's success story

I feel like a completely different person.

I had the gastric sleeve procedure. The driving factor behind me getting this procedure was my health. I didn't feel good physically or mentally. I had joint pains, even standing was difficult sometimes. Emotionally, this surgery completely turned my life around. I have so much more confidence. So much more happiness. I feel like a completely different person. I feel stronger. I feel able to accomplish more.

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Lost 99lbs

Eileen's success story

It saved my life.

The driving factor behind me getting my procedure was that I couldn't get up off the floor with my granddaughter. That was my why. That was my big reason for having this surgery done. After surgery, it was a little bit of a struggle with what to eat. What you put in your mouth that you don't even think about. You don't think about what you're eating or how you're eating and portion size. It's what I do now every single day. The procedure has changed my life in so many ways. It saved my life.

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Lost 126lbs

Brittany's success story