How Gastric Bypass Works to Improve Diabetes

For decades, we have known that the gastric bypass is one of the quickest, most effective and long-lasting solutions for obesity related diseases. It has been apparent that gastric bypass patients have had particular success with managing type 2 diabetes. While the initial consensus was that the elimination of excess weight contributed to remission in many patients, it has never been quite so simple to explain. Data collected from gastric bypass patients showed that, in fact, many were seeing dramatic reductions in or even normalization of blood sugar levels within days or weeks of surgery – before they lost any significant amount of weight.

In analyzing how the gastric bypass affects the metabolic and digestive system, it has been postulated that the malabsorptive portion of the procedure (the rerouting of the small intestine) stimulates a rebalancing of gut bacteria, which in turn normalizes sugar levels in many patients. We haven’t determined exactly what mechanism allows for this improvement, but we do know, that since purely restrictive procedures do not offer the same level of improvement, the alteration of the small intestine is likely responsible.

What does this mean for bariatric surgery? Recognizing this phenomenon has allowed us to better identify patients that would benefit from one procedure versus another. In this case, we know that qualifying patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes may be best served with a gastric bypass. Further, this development may yield incredible opportunities for those experiencing type 2 diabetes that are not obese (FDA clearance has not yet been given and will be required).

The research is still new, having been compiled only in the past few years – that means we have quite a bit yet to learn. Based on this promising start, we expect there to be a flood of new research that will spur the collection of data supporting the wider use of gastric bypass to fight diabetes. Keep it tuned to our blog as we bring you the very latest.

Our Surgical Weight Loss Program and Bariatric Surgery Center's mission is to deliver safe and effective surgical solutions with a compassionate touch. Our bariatric program is operated by NYU Langone Long Island Surgical Associates, P.C., a network of leading physicians and surgeons that provide comprehensive care for patients.

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