Bariatric Surgery and Diabetes

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Meet Dr. Joshua Long:
Our Bariatric Surgeon

A nationally renowned and double-board-certified Denver bariatric surgeon, Dr. Long uses a partnership care model with each patient to tailor care to their individual needs. Patients routinely thank Dr. Long for his warm, compassionate bedside manner. He’s considered to be at the top of his field, having performed over 1,000 bariatric surgeries. Peers praise his technical skill, and he has some of the lowest complication rates among bariatric surgeons in the nation. Dr. Long and the staff at the Bariatric and Metabolic Center of Colorado consider it an honor to serve every patient with the highest quality of care.

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Dr. Joshua Long


Can Bariatric Surgery Cure My Diabetes?

Weight loss surgery can absolutely help you handle or even cure your type II diabetes. More than 90% of our patients who undergo the gastric bypass, and more than 95% or our patients that receive the duodenal switch, experience remission of their diabetes.

That means no more diabetic medications. No more symptoms like dizziness or frequently having to run to the bathroom. No more looming risk of something worse happening. It means relief. Imagine how that would feel.

How Does Bariatric Surgery Cure Diabetes?

Weight loss surgery has a powerful effect on many peoples’ diabetes. Here’s why:

First, weight loss itself can often cause remission. Type II diabetes is partly caused by the metabolic effect of too many hormonally active fat cells, which causes insulin resistance in the body. And, if you’re suffering from obesity, this issue alone can often lead to type II diabetes.

But this part of the problem is tied to your weight, and when you lose weight, the diabetes can vanish. Our weight loss surgery patients often lose 100 to 200 pounds or even more, which has a powerful effect on their diabetes.

However, interestingly bariatric surgery can even help cure diabetes right after surgery, before any significant weight loss happens. In fact, many patients experience normalization of their insulin, glycosated hemoglobin, and glucose levels within a couple of days after surgery.

How can this happen? While we are still teasing out some of the details in answer to this question, we do know that a class of intestinal hormones known as incretins may be a large part of this answer. Incretins, such as GLP-1 and GIP, are produced by our intestines in response to eating dietary sugars and help to increase insulin production. However, in diabetic patients, they become highly dysregulated, which contributes to ineffective insulin production. Weight gain causes greater insulin resistance, further compounding this problem. Incretins normalize following intestinal bypass surgeries (the gastric bypass and the duodenal switch) and this change begins to normalize your internal insulin production, often leading to rapid improvements in blood sugar control without medications often even before significant weight loss occurs.

This is why the most effective bariatric surgeries for curing diabetes are the gastric bypass and the duodenal switch.

The bottom line is that thousands of patients have lost weight and found a cure to diabetes with bariatric surgery. The effects can be life-changing.

Which Weight Loss Surgery Is Right For Me?

Gastric Sleeve and Diabetes

Because it doesn’t bypass part of the intestines, the gastric sleeve (or sleeve gastrectomy) isn’t the most effective tool in curing type II diabetes. Weight loss is still substantial (patients regularly lose 60-80% of their excess body weight), but only 40-66% of patients with diabetes experience remission after a sleeve.

Gastric Bypass and Diabetes

The gastric bypass has been the gold standard for bariatric surgery and diabetes. It works in two ways: first, by shrinking your stomach so that you’re more full after a meal. Second, it bypasses part of your small intestine so that fewer nutrients are absorbed, which also favorably changes your incretin profile to further help resolve your diabetes. The combination helps our patients lose an average of 65-90% of their excess weight. It’s also a powerful two-part tool to fight diabetes.

The combination helps more than 90% of our patients who are suffering from Type II diabetes to experience remission. If you’re suffering from Type II diabetes, the gastric bypass is probably your best option to experience remission and regain your life.

Duodenal Switch and Diabetes

The loop duodenal switch (SADI-S) is the most effective tool for curing type II diabetes. It works by removing 80% of the stomach to form a sleeve, which leaves you less hungry and more full after smaller meals. It also reroutes the small intestine so that food only travels down the last third of the intestine, meaning fewer calories are absorbed from each meal. Finally, the SADI-S produces even greater improvements in your incretin profile than the gastric bypass, which is powerful in resolving diabetes.

The combination lets patients lose 80-95% of their excess body weight, even if they suffer from “super obesity” (BMI > 50). It also leads to remission of Type II diabetes in 95-98% of patients here at the BMCC.

However, the loop duodenal switch is a complicated procedure that requires patients to adopt a strict vitamin and protein supplement regime in order to avoid malnutrition. For that reason, we only recommend it for patients who can be very consistent taking multiple vitamins and protein supplements every day for the rest of their lives.

If you or a loved one has further questions or would like more information about bariatric surgery and diabetes, or other surgical or non-surgical weight loss, please check out our FREE ONLINE SEMINAR today.

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This page was medically reviewed by Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS. Dr. Long is a double-board-certified bariatric surgeon and bariatric medical director for Parker Adventist Hospital.
Full Bio: Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS
Page Updated: May 27th, 2023

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