Weight loss surgery can put severe forms of type 2 diabetes into remission, a study has shown.

Previous research has found that gastric bands and sleeve gastrectomys can help improve or reverse an early diagnosis of the condition.

But now teams from the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society (BOMSS) and the Population Health Research Institute at St Georges say weight loss surgery can have significant health outcomes on those who may have an advanced form of the condition too.

To investigate just how effective surgery might be on those who rely on insulin to manage their type 2 diabetes, the researchers collected data from nearly 2,000 obese people who had insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes and underwent weight loss surgery between 2009 and 2017.

They found one year after the operation that two out of three people no longer needed insulin and one in three people no longer had type 2 diabetes. In addition, the surgery helped people shift 25% of their bodyweight.

The researchers believe carrying out weight loss surgery in more people would be more cost effective too because treating type 2 diabetes and its complications costs the NHS £10 billion a year at the moment.

The price tag of each bariatric surgery operation is about £6,000, but the researchers believe this figure works out less when compared to the long-term cost implications for treating type 2 diabetes. When taking into account diabetes complications too, the think an additional £4,229 could be saved per person over five years.

Omar Khan, bariatric surgeon and lead author of the study from St George’s, University of London, said: “Patients with obesity and severe diabetes have not previously been prioritised for surgery, but our findings suggest that offering weight loss surgery to this group of patients not only leads to improved health, but by reducing the need for multiple daily medications, benefits the taxpayer.”

The findings have been published in the PLOS Medicine journal.

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