Apr 1, 2014 2:28 PM by David Randall
A new study finds weight loss surgery has proven to be an effective and long-lasting treatment for Type II Diabetes, with some patients able to maintain a normal blood sugar level without medications or insulin shots.
Marla Evan's surgeons at The Cleveland Clinic enrolled her in a weight loss surgery study for patients who had tried and failed to control their blood sugar levels through other means.
Compared to those on weight loss medications, patients who underwent bariatric surgery were much more likely to lose a significant amount of weight and go off all diabetes medication, even three years after their surgery.
"Of the patients who had surgery, more than 90% were insulin free," says Dr. Philip Schauer.
Dr. Schauer and his colleagues also found surgical patients were able to reduce their need for drugs for high cholesterol and blood pressure.
"Surgery is the only known treatment that can actually put a patient into long-term remission," he says.
Still, outside experts say surgery should only be considered as a last resort for patients who have exhausted all other options of controlling their blood sugar.
"This is a very good study by a very good group, and it reaffirms that the improvements are durable, but I don't think that this is the cure for Type II Diabetes," says the Mayo Clinic's Dr. Michael Jensen.
Bariatric surgery costs about $50,000 and is often not covered by insurance.
About 26-million people in the U.S. have Type II Diabetes, and experts expect that number will continue to grow.