Obesity Surgery Can Help Prevent Diabetes
Doctors are reporting a new benefit from weight-loss surgery - preventing diabetes. Far fewer obese people developed that disease if they had stomach-shrinking operations rather than usual care to try to slim down, a large study in Sweden found.
The results, published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, are provoking fresh debate about when adjustable bands and other bariatric procedures should be offered.
It is "provocative and exciting" that surgery can prevent diabetes, but it is "impractical and unjustified" to think of doing it on millions of obese adults, Dr. Danny Jacobs, a Duke University surgeon, wrote in a commentary in the medical journal.
Dr. Mitchell Roslin, bariatric surgery chief at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, disagreed.
"If surgery is the only treatment we have, we have to accept the cost ramifications of that" and give up "the naive notion" that we can just teach severely obese people how to lose weight, said Roslin, who consults for some makers of bariatric surgery equipment.
Millions of Americans have Type 2 diabetes brought on by obesity. Earlier this year, two studies showed that obesity surgery can reverse diabetes and keep it away for many years, possibly for good.