Lap-Band May Cure Diabetes For Low-BMI Patients
An article published recently in Reuters discusses findings that bariatric procedures such as Lap-Band surgery may cure diabetes through modes other than weight loss. It may also be a diabetes treatment for patients that are not severely obese.
Previously, bariatric surgery has only been considered appropriate for the treatment of obesity and diabetes in patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater. Yet some small studies have shown success in diabetic patients with BMIs that are significantly lower, at 29 or less.
Lap-Band Surgery May Be Diabetes Treatment Option for Those Not Severely Obese
According to Dr. Francisco Rubino at New York’s Weill Cornell Medical Center, “Every textbook says that diabetes is chronic, irreversible, and progressive. But we have thousands of patients who once had diabetes and now do not.”
Since 2009, Dr. Rubino has been leading a clinical study of the effects of bariatric surgical procedures on diabetic patients who are not heavy enough to qualify for surgery under traditional guidelines.
Some support for these theories has come from peptic ulcer surgeries, which have been documented in reports dating back to the 1950s. This procedure removes a section of the stomach and has an anatomical result very similar to modern bariatric surgery procedures. Many of the ulcer patients were also cured of their diabetes, going off their medications within two weeks.
These reports led Rubino to conduct controlled studies in rats, which showed dramatic improvement of diabetes faster than improvement of weight in the rats. With this success, human trials have now been conducted on small groups of patients with low BMIs. In these recent studies, 36 of 42 diabetes patients with low-BMI are now in remission from their diabetes after two years.
Discussing his low-BMI patients, Dr. Rubino said, “Bariatric surgery is more effective on diabetes than obesity. Patients don’t become lean, but they do not have diabetes anymore.”