Ileum surgery from Brazil helps to combat diabetes

Thu, 22 Mar 2012
A new experimental form of surgery, developed in Brazil, claims to offer a 50 percent chance of a cure for type 2 diabetes.

The procedure known as Ileal Transposition Surgery, or alternatively as 'small intestinal switch', was developed by Brazilian surgeon Dr Aureo de Paula. The surgery involves removing a segment of the gut, from the bottom of the small intestine (ileum), and reattaching it towards the top of the ileum.

The science behind the surgery is that the end of the ileum is responsible for detecting food and releasing an important hormone, GLP-1, which has a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels. People with diabetes may realise that this is the same hormone behind the success of the Byetta and Victoza drugs.

The new form of bariatric surgery has similarities with gastric bypass surgery. However, the surgery is less severe as the stomach itself is not affected by ileum transposition surgery.

The surgery has had success enabling people, who had previously struggled with controlling blood glucose levels, to come off diabetes medication. However, the surgery is new and it is not possible to confirm the long term success of the surgery at this stage.
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