SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — June 26, 2012. For a significant number of patients, gastric bypass surgery for weight loss can reverse Type 2 diabetes, but a new Mayo Clinic study finds that the disease can return in some 21 percent of patients within three to five years.
The recurrence of diabetes was mainly influenced by the patients' longstanding history of Type 2 diabetes, explains Yessica Ramos, M.D., an internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and study lead. "This suggests that early surgical intervention for obese people with diabetes can improve the chances for remission of the disease."
Ramos and colleagues at Mayo Clinic studied records of 72 patients with Type 2 diabetes who had undergone a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure (the most common form of gastric bypass surgery in which part of the patient's stomach is used to create a new, smaller stomach pouch) between 2000 and 2007. Of those patients, 66 (92 percent) experienced reversal of their diabetes at some point following the surgery.
However, 14 of those same patients (21 percent) experienced a recurrence of their Type 2 diabetes within three to five years, according to the researchers who studied their blood work. Both groups of patients – those whose diabetes was reversed, and those whose diabetes returned – regained similar amounts of weight post-surgery. Those whose diabetes was reversed lost more weight originally and maintained a lower mean weight throughout the five years of follow-up.
The Mayo researchers found that the longer the patients had diabetes previous to their weight loss surgery, the higher the probability that their diabetes would recur. In particular, patients who had diabetes for longer than five years before their surgery were 3.8 times more likely to experience a recurrence of their diabetes, compared with patients who had less than a five-year history with the disease.
"Providers and patients need to be aware of this information to have a better idea of the expected outcome and to be able to make an informed decision about pursuing gastric bypass surgery," says Ramos.
The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society annual meeting in Houston June 23-26.
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Media Contact: Lynn Closway, Public Affairs, 480-301-4222, Mayo Clinic