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Is There A Relation Between Weight Loss Surgery & Type 2 Diabetes?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ramen Goel 88% (50 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery
Bariatrician, Mumbai  •  33 years experience
Is There A Relation Between Weight Loss Surgery & Type 2 Diabetes?

Is there a relation between weight loss surgery and type 2 diabetes? Yes, there is and a very promising one. Many diabetics may not know this but a key hole procedure called metabolic/ bariatric surgery can help resolve type 2 diabetes.

It’s scientifically proven that these surgeries can normalize blood sugar levels and control diabetes in most patients. This means that you may not need any medicines post such a surgery. One long-term study which tracked 400 people with type 2 diabetes showed that six years after bariatric surgery, 62% diabetics showed normal blood sugar levels. Apart from this, they also showed better blood pressure, cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels that can cause heart disease.

Should you get a metabolic/bariatric surgery done? You are a fit candidate for bariatric surgery if your:

  1. BMI is 27.5 or higher
  2. And if are finding it difficult to maintain blood sugar with medicines & lifestyle changes.

Your doctor will give you a physical exam to check whether you are fit for a major surgery and if you are emotionally ready to commit to necessary lifestyle changes like eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Types of weight loss/diabetes surgery:

The most popular type of weight loss surgery is one in which the size of your stomach is reduced so that you feel full even after small meals. Other types of bariatric surgeries change the way your body absorbs calories and nutrients and vitamins. A few other types of bariatric surgeries do both.

  1. Gastric Bypass: In this surgery, your surgeon makes a small stomach pouch by dividing the top of the stomach from the rest. This small pouch is connected to intestine so other part of stomach is bypassed. So, when you eat, food goes into this small pouch, which makes you feel full faster and also makes it possible for your body to absorb fewer calories. This is a very promising type of bariatric surgery for diabetics as up to 80% of people have normal blood sugar after it. And they also lose 60% to 80% of their extra weight on an average.
  2. Gastric Sleeve: In this surgery, your surgeon will remove a major part of your stomach. When your stomach is small, you will feel full faster. It also reduces hunger pangs. This type of surgery is also very effective in reducing diabetes and losing weight.
  3. Adjustable Gastric Band: In this surgery, your surgeon puts an inflatable band around the top of your stomach. This forms a small pouch which makes you feel full faster. The good point is that your stomach is not cut and your intestines are not shifted. There are thus lesser complications. It also helps in controlling diabetes. The con is that you lose less weight in this type of surgery.
  4. Biliopancreatic DiversionThis is an uncommon surgery but most effective for diabetics. In this the doctor removes a large part of your stomach and also changes the way the food goes to your intestines. This helps in losing weight but also affects digestion long term.

As with any major operation, all bariatric surgeries come with potential risks of bleeding, infection, and leaks in the digestive system. It is necessary to change lifestyle to avoid weight regain.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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