Weight loss surgery showing promising results for type 2 diabetes

Professor Paul Scuffham, Director, Menzies Health Institute Queensland

Bariatric surgery is proving to be an effective treatment for people suffering from type 2 diabetes and morbid obesity, with results showing nearly 50 per cent of patients were able to discontinue all diabetes-related treatment.

New research, published in PLOS ONE monitored 212 patients throughout Queensland who had wither gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy surgery as part of the Queensland Health Bariatric Surgery Initiative.

Director of Griffith University’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland Professor Paul Scuffham said the patients were monitored for a period of 12 months after their surgery and looked at a range of factors including clinical and patient-reported outcomes.

“We found that 12 months after having surgery, their body weight decreased by 24 per cent and their blood glucose levels improved by 24 per cent,” Professor Scuffham said.

“The surgery had other beneficial effects on comorbidities related to obesity which saw 37 per cent of patients with high blood pressure prior to the operation no longer has this condition 12 months post-op.

“We also saw 62 per cent of those with impaired kidney function pre-surgery had normal kidney function after surgery.”

The research also found patients’ eating behaviours improved and their quality of life was considerably greater.

The overall satisfaction with the treatment remained above 97.5 per cent throughout their recovery period.

Professor Scuffham said the study confirmed previous work demonstrating the efficacy of publicly funded bariatric surgery when it comes to treating obesity, type 2 diabetes and related comorbidities.

“It shows the surgery has improved the quality of life for our patients and also their eating behaviours, and despite the short follow-up period, the results bode well for future weight maintenance for those with type 2 diabetes and morbid obesity,” he said.

The findings ‘Health Outcomes of patients with type 2 diabetes following bariatric surgery: Results from a publicly funded initiative’ have been published in PLOS ONE.

The research was funded by Queensland Health.