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New Study Shows Bariatric Surgery Effective for Treating Diabetes

Major news media including USA Today, Reuters, LA Times and CBS News are today covering a new study from Cleveland Clinic that shows bariatric surgery is a highly effective and durable treatment for type 2 diabetes in patients with moderate and severe obesity, enabling nearly all surgical patients to be free of insulin and many to be free of all diabetic medications three years after surgery.

The Cleveland Clinic physicians started a one-year clinical trial (with a four-year follow-up) to discover the effects on diabetic patients of advanced medical therapy versus medical therapy plus one of two types of bariatric surgery on glycemic control in obese patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.

This is the first randomized controlled clinical trial that compares surgery with intensive medical therapy head-to-head for this patient population.

The study followed 150 patients with diabetes: one-third was treated with medication and lifestyle changes; one-third also had gastric bypass; and the other third had
sleeve gastrectomy.

This is one of the the first times doctors have studied a weight loss surgery for diabetes in patients that aren’t severely obese. (Typically, bariatric surgery is performed on patients with a BMI over 35.)