A Swedish study has shown that weight loss surgery leads to higher type 2 diabetes remission rates and a lower rate of diabetes complications after 15 years following surgery.
The study reviewed 603 patients which were obese and had type 2 diabetes. 343 patients underwent one of three forms of bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) which were gastric band surgery, vertical banded gastroplasty and gastric bypass. Results of diabetes remissio, microvascular and macrovascular complications were compared against 260 patients, in the control group, which were treated in the standard way with lifestyle changes and medication.
Microvascular complications include retinal disease (retinopathy), kidney disease (nephropathy) and nerve disease (neuropathy). Macrovascular complications include heart disease and stroke.
The results of the study showed, after 15 years of the start of the study:
Remission rates were 30% for surgery patients vs 6% for control patients
Microvascular complication rates were essentially halved for surgery patients vs control (21 per 1,000 person years for surgery patients vs 42 per 1,000 person years for the control group)
Macrovascular complications were around a quarter lower in surgery participants (32 per 1,000 person years for surgery vs 44 per 1,000 person years)
Whilst bariatric surgery is not a cure for type 2 diabetes, the results show that it has promising results in terms of reducing reliance on diabetes medication and in significantly reducing rates of diabetes complications after 15 years.