Diabetes Returns after Surgery

Type 2 diabetes cured by bariatric surgery returns in some patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) In recent years, evidence has grown suggesting that weight loss surgery may cure diabetes. But "cure" may be too strong of a word, as some patients just can't kick the disease.

Gastric bypass surgery - a type of weight loss surgery - may reverse type 2 diabetes in the majority of obese patients.

However, the disease returns in about one-fifth of patients within three to five years.

"Ask your doctor if weight loss surgery is right for you."

From their study of 72 obese patients with type 2 diabetes, Yessica Ramos, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, and colleagues found that diabetes was reversed after gastric bypass surgery in 66 (92 percent) patients.

Unfortunately, diabetes returned in 14 (21 percent) of those 66 patients.

According to Dr. Ramos, "The recurrence rate was mainly influenced by a longstanding history of type 2 diabetes before the surgery."

In other words, patients who had diabetes for a longer amount of time were more likely to develop diabetes again after surgery. More specifically, patients who had diabetes for more than five years before surgery had 3.8-fold higher risk of diabetes recurrence, compared to patients with diabetes for less than five years.

These findings suggest that that obese diabetes patients who undergo surgery earlier may have a better chance of keeping their disease in remission.

"Providers and patients need to be aware of this information, to have a better idea of the expected outcome and be able to make an informed decision about pursuing gastric bypass surgery," says Dr. Ramos.

The results of this study were presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society. The study still needs to be assessed by a peer-reviewed journal.

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Review Date: 
June 26, 2012
Last Updated:
November 29, 2012