One of the questions we get most often at the Suffolk County office of New York Bariatric Group is if bariatric surgery will get rid of diabetes or any of the other significant medical conditions that often accompany obesity. Those serious conditions are referred to as co-morbidities and their long-term effects are considered life threatening. The good news is that, in many cases, the answer is yes.

Obesity is known to be the lead contributing factor causing type 2 diabetes and losing excess weight helps prevent its development, halt its progress, and, often, make it disappear altogether. In fact, reports have indicated that over 75% of obese patients with type 2 diabetes had their symptoms disappear and no longer relied on medications like insulin following their bariatric surgery.

If you have type 2 diabetes and traditional weight loss methods have proven unsuccessful, bariatric surgery may be an excellent option for you. Adjustable gastric band, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgery have all been proven effective at managing type 2 diabetes in obese patients.

First and foremost, losing a significant amount of weight through bariatric surgery will help control your blood sugar levels. Additionally, bariatric surgery diverts foods away from the blood sugar regulating hormones in the small intestine.

In all but a few exceptions, these surgeries are performed laparoscopically through small incisions, leaving you with less scarring and a faster recovery than is associated with conventional surgery. Each of the procedures has its own advantages and risks. Your surgeon will assist you in choosing the surgery that is best for you.

Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery

In this procedure, the surgeon secures a silicone band filled with saline solution around the top portion of the stomach, creating a small pouch. The band is connected to a small port under the skin. The small pouch limits the volume of food you can eat and the constricted passage between the pouch and the rest of the stomach will slow down your digestion, making you feel full longer. In future visits your surgeon can add or remove saline solution to adjust the band to best meet your needs.

Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

This procedure involves reducing the size of the stomach by approximately three quarters by surgically converting it to a narrow tube. Since the connections between the stomach and the rest of the digestive system are not altered, there are fewer risks associated with the sleeve gastrectomy than with gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery consists of sectioning the top portion of the stomach to form a small pouch roughly the size of an egg. The pouch is then connected to the small intestine lower down along the digestive tract. As with the other procedures, the amount of food you will be able to eat is diminished. Additionally, since a large portion of the stomach and a section of the intestine are bypassed, you will absorb fewer calories.

Risks and Possible Side Effects

Every major surgery involves inherent risks associated with general anesthetic and laparoscopic bariatric surgery is no different. Your surgeon will discuss all of the risks and benefits of each of the surgeries with you to help you choose the right one.

When considering bariatric surgery, it is useful to weigh the risks associated with the surgery against the health risks associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The risks and possible side effects differ for each of the procedures, however some of the health risks include developing blood clots in the legs that can travel to the lungs, infection, gallstones, nutritional deficiency, muscle loss, bleeding and mechanical issues (only applies to the gastric band).

After the Surgery

At the Suffolk County office of New York Bariatric Group, we see ourselves in a life-long partnership with our patients. The aftercare we provide is a crucial part of the service you can expect from us. We will help you by monitoring your progress, providing advice and support, and addressing any concerns you may have.

Diet: After any bariatric procedure, your diet will need to be adjusted. You will be on pureed food and liquids for the first four weeks. Afterwards, small amounts of solid foods can be added. We will provide you with additional dietary guidelines tailored for your needs in the weeks and months that follow your surgery.

Follow-Up Visits: It will be of the utmost importance that you attend all of your follow-up appointments so that we can monitor the impact the surgery has had on your diabetes. Your doctors will use this opportunity to monitor your weight loss, adjust your diabetes medications as necessary, and if you had gastric band surgery, adjust the tightness of your band.

If you live in the Suffolk area, have been struggling with your weight and have type 2 diabetes, contact New York Bariatric Group today to book a consultation with one of our doctors.