Gastric Banding Surgery No Longer For the Obese

The weight loss surgical procedure has been used for countless years to control diabetes in the severely diabetes. However a new study shows that overweight diabetics may benefit from the procedure too. The operation provides countless health benefits to both overweight and obese patients.

The laparoscopic method of adjustable gastric banding surgery is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that limits the amount of food that enters the stomach. Many studies have shown how it helps to improve blood sugar in the body and even reverses diabetes in patients. Currently, this type of surgery is an option for the obese, but with recent studies showing improvement in overweight patients, it may soon be available to those types of patients too.

Recent studies and research from Australia have discovered that gastric banding may also help overweight patients to reduce their diabetic symptoms or in some cases, eliminate the disease entirely. The study was run by Paul O’Brien, MD, founder and emeritus director of the Centre for Obesity Research and Education at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and National Medical Director of the American Institute of Gastric Banding in Richardson, Texas.

The study looked at 51 individuals who were overweight, but not obese. All participants of the study had a body mass index between 25 and 30. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, normal weight BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. A BMI over 30 is considered 30.

Many studies have showed that people who have extra body weight and fat are at a higher risk of developing Type II Diabetes. The extra pounds make controlling blood sugar with insulin more difficult. While diet and exercise can lead to significant weight loss, some patients may need alternate methods to losing enough weight to change their health outlook.

Dr. O’Brien and the other researchers randomly assigned 25 of these patients to have gastric banding and the post-op care needed for success, which included regular follow-up visits and nutrition consultations with a dietitian. The remaining patients in the study received only care, no surgery.

Gastric banding is a non-invasive procedure with very few small abdominal cuts. A surgeon will insert a band around the upper portion of the stomach to create a small pouch which holds food. After two years, more than half of patients in the gastric band group (52%) had a lowered blood sugar concentration to be considered in remission from their Type II Diabetes. Only two participants in the non-gastric banding surgery group had the same results.

According to O’Brien, gastric banding is a simple and safe day surgery option that can lead to remission in more than half of a group studied with Type II Diabetes. Careful consideration should be made whether or not overweight patients should undergo this procedure, but with these results, it seems like a viable option.

The research of this study was published in the April issue of The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. Funding for this study came from the Monash University Centre for Obesity and Research and Education as well as Allergan, a pharmaceutical company in Canada.