Diabetes experts from a consortium of medical societies and organizations say bariatric surgery should be a standard treatment for patients with the condition, as it offers potential control of diabetes for years without medication.
In a joint statement, the 45-member group said bariatric surgery could have a significant benefit for thousands of patients, calling the move 1 of the biggest shifts in diabetes guidelines since the advent of insulin in 1921.
“These recommendations, endorsed thus far by 45 international professional societies, reflect a large body of evidence demonstrating that several gastrointestinal operations initially designed to promote weight loss (bariatric surgery) can improve glucose homeostasis more effectively than any known pharmaceutical or behavioral approach, causing durable remission in many patients with [Type II diabetes]. Formally ratified by an unprecedented array of societies representing diverse medical and surgical specialties from around the world, these new guidelines can serve as a global reference for the use and study of GI surgery as an intentional treatment option for T2D,” according to an article in the journal Diabetes Care.
Dr. Francesco Rubin of King’s College London, 1 of the authors of the new guidelines, said that many countries across the world are in the midst of “an epidemic of diabetes.”
Although surgery is not be suitable for all Type II diabetics and should not be seen as a silver bullet solution, Rubino said patients should be offered a range of options including lifestyle changes, medication and surgery.
“For some, surgery may be the best choice,” he said during a briefing in London today. “Surgery represents a radical departure from conventional approaches to diabetes. These new guidelines effectively introduce … 1 of the biggest changes for diabetes care in modern times.”
The new guidelines say surgery designed to reduce the stomach and induce weight loss should be recommended to treat all diabetes patients whose body mass index is 40 or higher, regardless of their blood glucose control, as well as those with a BMI of 30 or more whose blood sugar levels are not being controlled by lifestyle changes or medications.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.