beta-cellsA study coming from Denmark provides a better point of determining which patients will benefit from surgery. In the study, researchers measured the insulin-producing cells' ability to produce insulin twice prior to and twice following the surgery. Four months after the surgery, 57% of the patients with the best insulin-producing cells prior to the procedure was no longer showing signs of type 2, while there was no change in the group of patients with poor insulin-producing cells. Eighteeen months after the surgery, 71% of those in the group with the best insulin-producing cells no longer had symptoms of type 2 as opposed to 38% in the group with the poorest insulin-producing cells.

"Our study shows that the patients' ability to produce insulin is decisive for whether or not the procedure eliminates diabetes. Measuring the insulin cells' performance before surgery can thus provide us with a much better basis from which to predict who will actually benefit from the surgery. This type of measurement is not currently included in doctors' assessments," says Professor Flemming Dela from the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

A weight loss surgery constitutes a substantial surgical procedure and the doctors' ability to predict which patients will actually benefit from a weight loss surgery is thus important, not only to the patients but also to the economy. Researchers have long known that the weight loss that accompanies a weight loss surgery also improves the effectiveness of insulin. Up until now, they believed that improved insulin sensitivity from the bariatric surgery improved or normalized blood glucose levels; however, this new study reveals that the capacity to produce insulin is the decisive factor in post-surgery success.

"The ability to produce sufficient amounts of insulin is inversely related to duration of the disease. The longer the patient has had diabetes, the poorer the ability to produce insulin," states Dala. "Thus, these new results also point to the importance of undergoing an operating at an early stage, before the patients lose their ability to produce insulin." 

Source: University of Copenhagen the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences