Almost a quarter of overweight people with type 2 diabetes had significantly reduced health risks after receiving a gastric band, a long-term study has found.
Australian scientists found that nearly 25 per cent of people who underwent the procedure were in remission from type 2 diabetes after five years compared to nine per cent of those who didn’t have the operation.
Monash University says this is the first piece of research into the long-term implications of a gastric band intervention on people with type 2 diabetes who were obese.
“We had people who were feeling better, moving better and who were happier because of the surgery,” said lead researcher Dr John Wentworth. “Their diabetes was better controlled and they needed fewer diabetic medications to control their blood sugar levels.”
A total of 45 people were studied, 22 of whom had a gastric band operation while the rest continued on their medication. All of the participants were given support to exercise more and eat healthier.
Among those who had the procedure, there was a 12.2 reduction in weight, while the non-operation group only shed 1.8 per cent of their weight. Those who had the gastric band also required fewer type 2 diabetes medications through the five-year study.
Gastric band surgery can cost the NHS up to £6,000 per patient, and it is considered an extreme form of weight loss treatment.
But Wentworth insist these findings demonstrate “reasonably strong evidence” that the surgery was a viable option for obese people wanting to lose weight and improve their health.
“It’s an important point because Lap banding is criticised by some people saying it is far too drastic to be used as a diabetes treatment and that it doesn’t work in the longer term,” Wentworth said.
“I think it’s a matter of just looking at the best ways of managing diabetes and preventing diabetes complications. We’re interested in making life easier for these people and reducing the risk of the main complications, mainly heart attack, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.”
The study appears online in the journal Diabetes Care.

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