Surgery… to treat diabetes?

Currently, diabetes is a chronic disease that affects a large part of the population. Among the varieties of diabetes we find type 1 and 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and diabetes caused by surgery, among other causes. Of these, only type 2 diabetes can be operated by means of metabolic surgery in patients with an overweight of more than 15 kg or obesity.

What does diabetes surgery consist of?

The most effective diabetes surgery consists of diverting the food so that it does not pass through the whole intestine, but through a part that specialists in general surgery calculate as necessary to absorb less sugar and less fat. In this way, glycemia, cholesterol and triglycerides are normalized, weight is lost, arterial hypertension is improved, snoring disappears and mobility is improved.

What advances does diabetes surgery involve?

The importance of the inclusion of surgery in the treatment of diabetes lies in the fact that it is the only one that has modified the course of the disease in overweight patients. Thanks to this development, the person can stop all medication, including insulin.

Moreover, it is an economic advantage, since it is cheaper to operate on patients than to provide them with drugs throughout their lives and to take on their complications: heart attacks or strokes, loss of vision, kidney damage with dialysis or transplantation, amputation of lower limbs, impotence, etc. In addition, survival and quality of life are greater with diabetes surgery.

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Finally, the evidence that diabetes surgery is superior to medical treatment for glycemic control in the obese patient is increasingly notable.

Why is its application slow?

There are many reasons for this situation. On the one hand, there are a large number of physicians who continue to ignore the superior results of surgery over medical treatment. Others are unaware that today’s operations are very different from those of a few years ago, diabetes surgery has developed rapidly and steadily over the last decade.

How have you contributed to the development of this surgery?

Firstly, with the preparation of a consensus document between different medical societies so that the surgery could be performed in Spain. Also, by improving the gastroileal bypass technique to the point of performing the surgeries in 30 minutes, with minimum risks and a very fast recovery, with a hospital stay of 48 hours or less. In addition, patients can eat normally after surgery, something that does not happen with stomach reductions.

Thanks to this intervention, type 2 diabetes is resolved, normalizing glycemia, withdrawing all types of medication, including insulin, and stopping the appearance of diabetes-related complications such as heart attacks or strokes, loss of vision, kidney damage with dialysis or transplantation, lower limb amputations, impotence, among others.

Is the gastroileal bypass only useful for diabetes?

The gastroileal bypass is designed to solve the metabolic syndrome as a whole, not only diabetes, thus improving survival and giving patients a better quality of life. The people to whom the intervention is recommended are type 2 diabetics who are more than 15 kg overweight. This type of operation is not feasible for type 1 diabetes, nor for thin people.