Bariatric surgery enters mainstream for treatment of diabetes

Growing evidence suggests that bariatric surgery, commonly known for its effectiveness in treating severe obesity, may also help in the treatment and achievement of remission of type 2 diabetes. Although study results are mostly short term and more long-term follow-up is needed, the Swedish Obese Subjects trial has follow-up data up to 20 years.

“When you look at the effect of surgery on those patients, the patients [with diabetes] who have intervention before 5 years duration [of the disease] are the ones who get the best results,” said John M. Morton, MD, MPH, FACS, director of bariatric surgery and surgical quality at Stanford University School of Medicine. “I like to think that those are patients who are more metabolically receptive to change and it’s before the pancreas and insulin receptors can burn out; [patients] still have an ability to recover.”

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