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Study: Gastric Bypass Less Effective in Diabetics

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 10:21 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA & Prescription Drugs, Gastric Bypass Surgery, Morbid Obesity, Diabetes, Bariatric Surgery


IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons / Gastric Bypass, Roux en-Y / author: Magnus Manske

A new study by researchers of the University of California found that people with diabetes did not lose as much weight after gastric bypass surgery compared to those people who do not have diabetes.

Gastric bypass is a procedure commonly used to treat morbid obesity and associated health problems. Gastric bypass makes the patient’s stomach smaller and allows food to bypass part of the small intestine. The patient will feel full faster which reduces food intake and thus calories consumed. Bypassing part of the intestine also results in less calories being absorbed leading to weight loss.

An estimated 15 million Americans are morbidly obese with a BMI of 40 or more. About 205,000 had a form of bariatric surgery last year, according to the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

The study included 310 people who had undergone gastric bypass surgery with a body mass index (BMI) of 52 (morbidly obese is characterized by a BMI higher than 40).

After a 12-month follow-up researchers discovered that participants had lost an average of 60 percent of excess body weight. However, 38 people (about 12.3 percent) were classified in the poor-weight category having lost less than 40 percent of excess body weight.

In previous studies bypass surgery has been shown to help decrease symptoms of diabetes in some patients who undergo the procedure. According to the study, those who take insulin could be at a disadvantage since it may promote cholesterol and fat production.

Patients with diabetes may also need to consume more when experiencing low blood sugar episodes, leading to weight gain. Researchers suggest modifying medication could encourage the shedding of more pounds.

Pouch size appears to be another important factor and size can vary according to Dr. Guilherme Campos, director of the Bariatric Surgery Program at University of California. The bigger the pouch, the more food it can store.

Most surgeons use a traditional method of creating a gastric pouch. Surgeons need to consider the individual characteristics and needs of each patient. “As gastric bypass surgery use grows, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of, and teach the creation of, the small gastric pouch and to better understand the techniques used in pouch creation,” wrote the study authors.

The study is published in the September issue of the journal Archives of Surgery. #

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