GN Focus | World Diabetes Day

Old procedure, new function

Cleveland Clinic’s staff have voted weight-loss surgery for controlling diabetes as the leading innovation for 2013

  • Reuters
  • Published: 00:00 November 14, 2012
  • GN Focus

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With the advent of a new discipline of metabolic surgery, diabetes has become a subject of interest to surgeons these days. It explores the potential for an old procedure that has a new use — a surgical cure of diabetes by way of operative procedures more commonly used for weight loss.

Dr Faruq M. Badiuddin, Specialist General Surgeon, EHL Dubai Mall Medical Centre, has specialised in bariatric or weight-loss surgery since 2000. He explains that surgical operation Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, an operation to cure obesity, and Ileal Interposition, a surgical option for non-obese diabetics, are revolutionising diabetes therapy. “Both these surgeries cure diabetes in about 83 per cent of patients,” Dr Badiuddin says. “They also reverse hypercholesterolaemia and hypertension to a 
lesser degree.”

In a report last month, the Cleveland Clinic listed weight-loss surgery as the top innovation for 2013, due to findings in a recent study. Physicians and researchers at the clinic voted for weight-loss surgery not for reducing obesity, but for its ability to control type 2 diabetes.

Dr Philip Schauer, head of the Cleveland Clinic’s Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, led a study examining this phenomenon, and the New England Journal of Medicine published the results earlier this year. Over the years, bariatric surgeons noticed that the procedure would often rid obese patients of type 2 diabetes before they even left the hospital.

“The surgeries that have shown to be able to lead to a complete resolution of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome (a combination of diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia and hypertension) are the gastric bypass and more recently the sleeve gastrectomy,” says Dr Badiuddin.

All patients require periodic check-ups to monitor nutritional deficiencies. “But that is a small price to pay for halting the relentless progress of a disease that slowly but surely destroys nearly every organ in the body. Other beneficial effects in the long run include a reduction in the incidence of heart attacks, breast and endometrial cancer, and relief from sleep apnoea and osteoarthritis,” Dr Badiuddin says.

— With input from Reuters

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