Friday, January 1, 2010

Gastric Bypass and Adjustable Lap Band May Be Cost Effective for Treating Type 2 Diabetes

As we've all heard, today, more and more U.S. citizens are succumbing to diabetes. Furthermore, Type 2 diabetes among children is increasing. Some forms of bariatric surgery are being viewed as a viable treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Studies show that in more than two thirds of the study subjects with Type 2 diabetes, the disease was either gone or easier to control after weight loss surgery. And recent research indicates that gastric bypass surgery and the adjustable lap band are more cost effective in treating Type 2 diabetes than conventional diabetes treatment methods for persons with a BMI greater than or equal to 35.

We've noted before that some experts feel that bariatric surgery can be used for more than just weight loss. Indeed, the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) changed its name to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) to recognize non-weight-loss applications of gastric bypass surgery.

And the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center has started treating Type 2 diabetes using a modified version of the gastric bypass surgery used for weight loss. In the modified version of the surgery, nothing is done to shrink the stomach; only the small intestine is rerouted.

Using bariatric surgery to treat diabetes, no doubt, will receive more attention. And if it turns out that the surgery is a good, cost effective treatment for diabetes, the surgical option will become an important surgical service that bariatric surgical centers can offer.

Another item that favors surgery as a reasonable option for treating diabetes is research showing that insulin treatment for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes causes some patients to gain weight. Gaining weight can be a negative factor in cardiovascular disease.

So depending on how viable the utilization of bariatric surgery is for treating diabetes, compared to insulin use, it may be reasonable, in some cases, to consider bariatric surgery for the treatment of diabetes for economical reasons.

Bariatric or weight loss centers should stay abreast of activities associated with the use of bariatric surgery for the treatment of diabetes. It might turn out that offering this treatment could give a weight loss or bariatric center a competitive advantage and help to lower the health care costs associated with Type 2 diabetes.

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