Most obese people with diabetes will be cured of it by weight loss surgery, with gastric bypass surgery allowing more than 80 percent of patients to come off their diabetes medication, according to a study. The report in Archives of Surgery concerned a review of earlier studies led by Rick Meijer, at the Institute for Cardiovascular Research at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, who said the findings exceeded what was possible with more conventional diabetes treatments.
Meijer and his colleagues pooled data from nine studies of diabetics who underwent either a gastric bypass -- which makes the stomach smaller and allows food to bypass part of the small intestine -- or gastric band surgery, in which the capacity of the stomach is reduced by using an adjustable band.
"In standard practice, only a very minor group of individuals with an iron will can lose enough weight to be cured from type 2 diabetes mellitus," Meijer said in an email to Reuters Health, referring to the most common type of diabetes. After gastric bypass, 83 percent of patients could stop taking their diabetes medications, some within days of the surgery. After gastric banding, 62 percent could stop.