Over the past decade, bariatric surgeons have noticed that weight loss surgery is extremely effective in improving diabetes, with many patients showing improvement as quickly as days after surgery. Prompted by these observations, several noteworthy studies published in recent years have provided evidence that weight loss surgery is an effective diabetes treatment in obese patients. One of such studies showed that as much as 95 percent of Lap-Band patients achieved either remission or improvement in diabetes at two years post-surgery.

Now, new research provides more clarity into how one common weight loss procedure, the gastric bypass, works to improve diabetes. Cleveland Clinic researchers found that gastric bypass surgery seems to stop damage to the pancreas, reversing the cause of diabetes as well as alleviating the symptoms. The researchers reported that gastric bypass seems to uniquely restore pancreatic beta-cell function, presumably by targeting belly fat and modifying the hormones in the gastrointestinal tract. “The procedure remarkably targets belly fat where hormones that are toxic to the body develop,” said the lead researcher, Dr. Sangeeta Kashyap.  Basically, gastric bypass surgery changes hormones in the gut, which triggers the pancreas to start making insulin again. These findings provide substantial support for the use of gastric bypass surgery to treat diabetes in moderately obese patients.

Gastric bypass surgery has been performed for 30 years with a continuous evolution of technical changes to make it more effective and safe. The procedure involves the creation of a small gastric pouch (roughly the size of a golf ball) from the top part of the patient’s existing stomach. The patient’s small intestine is divided and connected to the gastric pouch. The beginning of the small intestine (the “biliopancreatic limb”) is then connected further down the small intestine.  Gastric bypass surgery patients average a 60-80 percent loss of excess body weight. You can learn more about the procedure, as well as the other weight loss options offered at Oregon Weight Loss Surgery, by attending one of our free informational seminars or calling 503-227-5050 to schedule a consultation.

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