The Lancet published the results of a trial on 60 people which found surgical reduction of the size of the stomach and small intestine cures half of patients with type-2 diabetes, for at least five years. The surgery changes the way the digestive tract functions. Surgery for diabetes seems to be safe, effective in terms of glycaemic [sugar] control and is now associated with reduced complications of diabetes.
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Prof Francesco Rubino told the BBC News website: “Surgery enables patients get to levels of blood sugar that are non-diabetes for five years. Even with a single drug or no drug at all, 80% who had surgery were able to maintain ‘optimal control’. However, continual monitoring of blood sugar levels even after the operation is necessary. The surgery also reduces the risk of heart problems, a common side-effect of uncontrolled diabetes. The surgical procedure is economical in the long run.
The results were better two years after surgery. But, some patients relapsed in the past three years.
Drs Dimitri Pournaras and Carel le Roux, from Imperial College London, said diabetes was “the plague of the 21st Century” and that the results were “remarkable”.
The surgical option needed to “become more available” and the introduction of new rules in the UK should increase the number of patients being offered weight loss surgery.