There are more than 72 million obese people in the United States, and tens of millions of them have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, an epidemic that continues to grow at a rapid pace. The good news is that certain types of bariatric surgery are proving to be effective options in eliminating [type 2] diabetes and reducing weight.

A recent study from the University of Massachusetts found that 36 percent of gastric bypass patients did not need diabetes medication two weeks after surgery and 67 percent were medication free after one year.

“Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy have been shown to be the most effective at ridding the body of [type 2] diabetes and helping patients lose weight,” said Dr. Vadim Sherman, medical director of bariatric and metabolic surgery at The Methodist Hospital in Houston. “Lap band and stomach stapling don’t change your metabolism the way the other two procedures do because you are basically just putting an obstruction into the abdomen to make you eat less.”

Gastric bypass surgery involves cutting the stomach and creating a pouch that is separated and then connected to the intestine. Food then bypasses the old stomach and goes directly into the pouch then directly into the intestine. Sleeve gastrectomy involves cutting out a portion of the stomach.

Both of these procedures cause metabolic changes in hunger hormones and in the way the body burns fat. This leads to a decreased absorption of food and eating less.

“Lap band and stomach stapling surgeries can be revised into one of these other two procedures, giving the patient a better chance at weight loss and getting rid of [type 2] diabetes,” Sherman said. “This is important if you have complications from one of the other surgeries such as intolerance for food, reflux, heartburn, pain with eating and an inability to eat regular food.”

“Surgery alone is not the answer. Patients also need to make lifestyle changes in order for any weight loss surgery to work long term,” Sherman said. “That being said, the best options to get rid of [type 2] diabetes and lose the weight you want to lose are the gastric bypass and the sleeve gastrectomy.”

Source: Methodist Hospital – Houston Press Release