Weight-Loss Surgery Can Reverse Diabetes, But Cure Is Elusive

Khalili Center - Diabetes and Weight Loss Surgery on NPR


Bariatric surgery can help obese people lose weight, and excess weight is a big risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. So it makes sense to try to figure out whether the surgery could help control diabetes, too.

So far the answer is yes, at least for some people and for three years. But surgery doesn’t work for everyone, and the long-term implications remain unclear.

More than one-third of the people who had gastric bypass surgery met glycemic control targets three years out, compared with 24 percent who had a different type of bariatric surgery called sleeve gastrectomy. And just 5 percent of people in a group treated with medication alone were able to meet that standard.

It’s one of the first randomized controlled trials to look at bariatric surgery as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes, which affects 23 million adults.

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