Healthy Living: Diabetes surgery
In this edition of Healthy Living, Kafi Drexel introduces a joint study of bariatric-weight loss surgery in obese patients with diabetes.
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He's a shadow of what he once was, but a healthier shadow, because three years ago Leonardo Zangani weighed in at 298 pounds. He knew his health was in trouble.
Zangani said, “My family doctor, he just told me that I had a very serious case of diabetes.”
After undergoing bariatric -weight loss surgery as part of a joint study with doctors at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell here in New York and Catholic University in Italy, Zangani's Type 2 diabetes is in remission.
In one of the largest studies so far with the longest follow-up of two years, doctors were able to show weight loss surgery beat traditional methods of diabetes treatment.
Dr. Francesco Rubino, Chief of Gastrointestinal Metabolic Surgery, at the NY Presb. Weill Cornell Medical Center said, “We’ve been studying this for many years and we know that certain forms of bariatric surgeries can improve diabetes quite dramatically. The novelty of the study is that we have compared surgery and medical treatment to one another, in what is called randomized trial.”
In the trial 60 patients between the ages of 30 to 60 were split up into three groups. One group underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Another group had biliopancreatic diversion.
The third group received conventional medications like insulin therapy. None of the patients in the conventional group went into remission.
But 95 percent in the biliopancreatic diversion group and 75 percent in the Roux-en-Y group went into remission and maintained it for the full course of the study.
“Diabetes is a very complex disease. When it is also with severe obesity it becomes more complicated. Many of the medications you should use to treat it, for instance, insulin, has a side effect of increase body weight,” said Dr. Rubino.
Rubino hopes the findings in his study further support surgery as a more mainstream solution for obese patients. Options are also being explored for patients classified as overweight.