Band Gastric Bypass Surgery (not the only type of gastric bypass): very successful at “curing” T2 diabetes if you survive the operation
Folks with T2 diabetes who undergo weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery) often see a reversal or remission of their diabetes. The reversal doesn’t always last.
In either case, bariatric surgery does seem to reduce the risk if microvascular complications, namely retinopathy (eye disease), neuropathy (nerve pain or numbness), and nephropathy (kidney disease).
The conclusion of a recent study:
“Our results indicate that remission of type 2 diabetes after bariatric surgery confers benefits for risk of incident microvascular disease even if patients eventually experience a relapse of their type 2 diabetes. This provides support for a legacy effect of bariatric surgery, where even a transient period of surgically induced type 2 diabetes remission is associated with lower long-term microvascular disease risk.”
Source: Long-term Microvascular Disease Outcomes in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes After Bariatric Surgery: Evidence for the Legacy Effect of Surgery | Diabetes Care
…according to Seattle researchers.
They looked at over 4,000 diabetics who had gastric bypass surgery for weight loss, following their cases over many subsequent years. Almost seven in 10 had a “complete diabetes remission” within five years of surgery. (Remission was defined as non-diabetic lab values on blood tests and absence of diabetic drug use.) Of those going into remission, 35% redeveloped diabetes within five years of surgery. Those with the more severe or longstanding cases of diabetes before surgery were more likely to have a recurrence of diabetes.
Band Gastric Bypass Surgery (not the only type of gastric bypass)
So it looks to me like, on average, gastric bypass surgery “cures” half of the cases of type 2 diabetes, as measured five years after surgery. As the years pass, even more failures will arise. Nevertheless, that’s an impressive improvement. Given the potential complications of bypass surgery, I’d try a very-low-carb diet before going under the knife. Examples are Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution and Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes.
Steve Parker, M.D.
PS: Cure or remission of type 2 diabetes could be defined in other ways. For instance, a more reliable definition of cure might include return of normal pancreas/insulin function as judged by insulin levels and insulin sensitivity. If you have normal blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c, yet have ongoing insulin resistance, you’re more likely to develop overt diabetes going forward.