Large Trial Results: Diabetes and Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery has benefits beyond weight loss. It often improves many weight-related  health problems, and has been shown to be especially effective at improving type 2 diabetes. Now, new research shows that it can help patients control their diabetes for years after surgery.  The landmark STAMPEDE (Surgical Treatment And Medications Potentially Eradicate Diabetes Efficiently) trial is the largest randomized trial of its type and one of the longest that compares medical therapy to bariatric surgery.

STAMPEDE included 150 obese patients with type 2 diabetes. All of the patients were taking medicine to control their condition and received intensive counseling. Fifty patients had gastric sleeve surgery, 50 underwent gastric bypass surgery, and 50 only took medicine and received intensive counseling.

The key findings at three years included:

  • Ninety to ninety-five percent of patients who had bariatric surgery no longer needed to take insulin, while only about 45 percent of the patients in the medicine-only group were able to discontinue insulin.
  • Thirty-five percent of patients who had surgery achieved a 3 year remission of diabetes or much improved blood sugar control. None of medicine-only patients achieved remission.
  • Surgery patients reported significant improvements in measures of quality of life, while the medication-only group reported no improvement.
  • Additionally, surgery patients needed less medicine to control their cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

As a whole, the STAMPEDE results show that bariatric surgery is more effective in treating diabetes in moderate and severely obese patients, with persistent benefits up to three years. The patients who had the best results were those who received earlier surgical intervention.

If you are obese and have type 2 diabetes, weight loss surgery may be a good choice for you. As indicated in the study, seeking help earlier increases the chances of experiencing improvement in your condition. Give us a call today at 212-263-3166.