x-ray of pancreas, doc with clipboard

Gastric Bypass May Put Type 2 into Remission

A certain type of gastric bypass surgery can be very effective in treating Type 2 diabetes for those who are obese — even sending diabetes into remission. A new study showed that patients who had RYGB gastric bypass were more able to control their diabetes than those who made lifestyle changes. Those who had the surgery also lost more weight over a three-year period.

The study, published in the February 2018 issue of Diabetes Care, found that after three years, obese patients who had gastric bypass surgery lost an average of 55 pounds. Those in the weight management group lost 11 pounds.

Those who underwent the surgery also had improved A1C, higher self-esteem, were using fewer medications, and had smaller risk of heart attack and stroke.

The weight management group adjusted their medications, changed their diets, exercised, and took classes. Of this group, 11% achieved the target A1C of under 7%, while in the gastric bypass group, 58% achieved the target A1C.

How does it work?

The type of gastric bypass done was Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), which reduces the size of the upper stomach. RYGB gastric bypass actually has an added bonus to help control diabetes:  it reroutes the gut and stimulates the production of insulin in the pancreas, helping to regulate diabetes. With medical advances, the surgery can now be done with small incisions, and it is safer than in the past.

If you are obese or even mildly obese (BMI 30 or higher) with uncontrolled diabetes, gastric bypass might be a good option for you. It can be even more effective if your diabetes hasn’t progressed too far. Since this is a major surgery, always consult with a doctor and endocrinologist first.


Who should not have gastric bypass?

Gastric bypass is not recommended for:

  • Those with severe psychiatric disorders or eating disorders
  • Those who will not make changes to their eating and exercise habits
  • Those who are medically fragile or in poor health
  • Those who will not quit smoking
  • Those with addiction problems
  • Those who are pregnant
  • Those who have certain cancers