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Weight Loss Surgery Cures Type 2 Diabetes for Most

Mounting evidence shows that bariatric surgery, such as duodenal switch surgery, provides enduring resolution of type 2 diabetes in most patients.

San Francisco, California (May 2011) - The medical community has been abuzz in recent months with more and more studies pointing to weight loss surgery as a reliable cure for type 2 diabetes in obese patients. From his San Francisco weight loss surgery center, Pacific Laparoscopy (http://www.paclap.com), bariatric surgeon Dr. John Rabkin discusses the connection between weight loss surgery and diabetes.

"We've seen several studies published recently that strongly suggest weight loss surgery could be the long-awaited cure for type 2 diabetes," says Dr. Rabkin. Many of these studies focus on a particular type of bariatric procedure, such as gastric banding or gastric bypass. For example, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 73 percent of those with diabetes who combined the gastric banding procedure with conventional therapy achieved remission and were able to discontinue their diabetes medication. Only 13 percent of those who received only conventional therapy went into remission. "We've seen even better numbers with other procedures as well," remarks Dr. Rabkin, "which strengthens the case for weight loss surgery in general."

One of the reasons for the improvement in type 2 diabetes is because food intake is restricted after surgery, particularly refined carbohydrates, which are not well tolerated after certain types of weight loss surgery. This helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, which has an immediate impact on diabetes. Another reason is that patients lose a significant amount of weight after these procedures, which improves insulin resistance. There may also be a connection between the diabetes cure and hormonal changes that result from bariatric surgery, particularly procedures that bypass part of the intestine. But more research has yet to be done in this area.

In his own practice, Dr. Rabkin has seen an even higher success rate in curing diabetes with a newer procedure called duodenal switch surgery. "I have witnessed a 96 percent cure rate of type 2 diabetes in my duodenal switch patients, which has persisted through 10 years post-surgery," says Dr. Rabkin. He attributes this to the more lasting weight loss results that the duodenal switch procedure tends to produce.

"Unfortunately, many patients regain weight over time with other bariatric surgery procedures. The duodenal switch procedure offers some unique advantages which seem to allow for better long term weight maintenance," says Dr. Rabkin. One of the advantages is the larger stomach pouch – 4 to 5 ounces as opposed to 1 ounce with gastric bypass. This allows for a more normal stomach function and a more natural eating pattern. The unique intestinal reconfiguration used in the duodenal switch procedure also reduces the absorption of calories for more lasting weight loss results.

"It seems clear that significant, sustained weight loss and a healthy diet is key to reducing diabetes, and certain bariatric procedures offer additional benefits which increase the cure rate," says Dr. Rabkin. "I am confident that further research into the duodenal switch procedure and diabetes will support what I have already witnessed with my own patients."

To learn more about bariatric surgery, click here to request a consultation, or you can call Pacific Laparoscopy at 415-668-3200 to schedule your appointment.

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